15 November 2001 | Robin Parker
The NHS must tackle the recruitment and training of purchasers if it is to improve its supply strategy, the chief executive of the Purchasing and Supply Agency (Pasa) has warned.
"The NHS does not have sufficient numbers of the right quality of supply manager," Duncan Eaton told delegates to the Healthcare Supplies Association annual conference. "It is a major task to change this."
Procurement is not contributing to wider strategic and policy development in many trusts, as little NHS expenditure is subject to best-value scrutiny or competitive processes, he said.
Pasa, which was formed last April, put a fifth of NHS purchasing on a national contract basis last year, saving £171 million, and has proposed to expand this to a third in 2001-02.
More inter-trust supply management would help to share expertise and offer a better career structure for purchasers within the NHS, Eaton added.