14 May 2010 | Lindsay Clark
Innovation in procurement is helping the NHS create efficiency savings and at the same time as boosting local agriculture.
Nottingham’s City Hospital and Queens Medical Centre are now buying £1 million of food from local farmers who have formed a consortium to supply a contract that they would not have been able to service individually.
Working with local commercial butcher Owen Taylor, the project is saving the trusts £6 million on food bills and 150,000 food miles. The procurement managers plan to double their spend with the consortium next year, according to BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
The project was also helping local farmers turn a profit for the first time in many years, the programme said.
The BBC claimed that if replicated across the NHS, local food buying could potentially save £400 million a year.
Such savings could be valuable as NHS tries to exceed the target of £20 billion in savings by 2014 already announced by the former Labour government. New health secretary Andrew Lansley said the NHS may need to do more because of increased demand and a need to improve outcomes.