NHS commissioning changes could save £3.4 billion a year

14 June 2012

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14 June 2012 | Adam Leach

Business lobbying group the CBI has said procurement and commissioning teams in the UK’s National Health Service “often lack the commercial savvy”.

Its report, The right care in the right place, published today, suggested that commissioning care closer to the homes of patients and utilising new technologically advanced ways of working (such as equipping staff with smartphones to improve remote working), could cut NHS www.nhs.uk/ costs by £3.4 billion each year.

It said commissioners should share best practice and carry out more market testing to identify the most effective private sector partners in order to deliver healthcare more efficiently and cut costs to taxpayers.

Katja Hall, CBI chief policy adviser, said: “Some commissioners are already working with the private sector to successfully put these advanced healthcare systems into practice, but there are still too many barriers preventing them from becoming widespread.”

The report recommended that Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts, should consult with the private sector to develop financial and regulatory checks that are not overly burdensome. It said the NHS Commissioning Board should establish a network for commissioning groups to share best practice and work with both commissioners and private sector partners to establish metrics to compare clinical products and services.

According to the CBI, the commercial skills of procurement teams are restricting efficiency. The report said: “Procurement and commissioning teams often lack the commercial savvy, which makes it more difficult to foster cross-sector partnerships.”

It advised that the Department of Health follow the lead of the Cabinet Office and establish a secondment team to develop better commercial awareness in the public sector.

The report said that remote working, including the use of smartphones could contribute £1.9 million to annual savings, with wider adoption of homecare contributing £1.3 billion.

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