Hospitals must disclose procurement spend details

4 August 2013

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5 August 2013 | Adam Leach

NHS hospitals will have to publicly disclose how much they spend on supplies and services as part of a new NHS procurement strategy designed to drive efficiency. 

Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care: A Procurement Development Programme for the NHS, published today by health minister Dr Dan Poulter, outlined a number of actions aimed at cutting out wasteful spending. In addition to publishing what all hospitals spend on supplies, the temporary staff bill will be cut by 25 per cent, more bulk deals will be used to buy big ticket items like MRI scanners and greater support will be given to help senior managers in the health service understand procurement.

Announcing the strategy, Poulter said: “We must end the scandalous situation where one hospital spends hundreds of thousands more than another hospital just down the road on something as simple as rubber gloves or syringes, simply because they haven’t got the right systems in place to ensure value for local patients. 

“This kind of poor resource management cannot go on and this radical new strategy will help our NHS get a grip on wasteful spending to drive real change and improved procurement practices so that more of our NHS’s resources can be spent on frontline care.”

The plans will also see a high-profile person from the private sector appointed as a ‘procurement champion’, who will lead the reform agenda. The champion will be supported by a team of senior representatives from government the NHS and industry, which will be led by Poulter. 

In response to the strategy, Lord Hunt, president of the Health Care Supply Association, said: “Procurement can make a vital contribution to the delivery of better patient care through the negotiation of the best commercial supply arrangements, in conjunction with clinical colleagues and innovative suppliers. I am delighted that central to the report are plans to promote leadership and the development of capability and capacity within the NHS procurement function.”

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