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19 January 2012 | Angeline Albert
Procurement professionals at NHS trusts have agreed to use a product comparison website to gain visibility and control of spend.
A total of 176 of the 252 foundation, acute, mental health and ambulance trusts in England and Wales – representing £3 billion annual procurement spend – have agreed to use the Peto website.
Some 13,000 products are listed on the site that buyers can view for free. The number of listed products is expected to rise to more than 50,000 items by February.
Simon Walsh, head of procurement and e-commerce at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is a really well thought-through solution and we will be using it in particular to help gain visibility and control over some of our spend areas.”
There are around 850 suppliers currently registered on the website. Suppliers can place a limited number of products on the site for free and are charged for additional ones. Products can also be rated by users of the website.
Aaron Cummins, chairman of Government Procurement Service’s NHS Customer Board, said the website was a potential game changer for NHS purchasing, which has previously been criticised by the National Audit Office for wasting money. “This is long awaited and could change the way the NHS does business in the future. Trust management teams have for a number of years sought the level of transparency this solution will deliver. A tool such as this will enable us to better manage our spend and more importantly understand what product choices we should be making based on user feedback, akin to how we buy from the likes of Amazon, balanced with complete visibility of costs and alternative products.”
Zoe Greenwell, procurement director at Barts and The London NHS Trust, shared her feelings about the arrival of PETO over on the SM blog.