28 May 2010 | Steve Still
The Scottish NHS saved nearly £23 million last year through the smarter buying and delivery of goods, according to public health minister Shona Robison.
A further £1.6 million was found by introducing barcode scanning, linked to electronic procurement at ward level, which has sped up and automated stock re-ordering, the annual report from the National Procurement team, a division of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) said.
Intelligent procurement is credited with freeing staff from administrative duties. Ministers have said savings will be ploughed into front-line care services.
Robison said getting the best possible value for money was vital for the country.
“National Procurement is helping health boards to make significant savings and that's particularly important at a time when budgets are being increasingly stretched.
“There will always be competing priorities in our health service, which is why the work National Procurement does is so important, negotiating the best deals and ensuring health boards get economies of scale.”
National Procurement operates a fleet of 28 trucks from the distribution centre in Lanarkshire, and last year made around 15,000 deliveries to hospitals in Scotland. It has national contracts worth £700 million in place.
National Services chief executive Ian Crichton, said: “We work together with boards to buy everything, from bandages to blood collection systems. This means that together we can provide quality products and services at the best prices nationally.”