June 2011 | Angeline Albert
responsibility for buying in the NHS under new reforms could make it difficult
to implement MPs' recommendations to improve purchasing from the centre.
Loudon, national QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention)
procurement workstream programme lead at the Department of Health (DH),
has questioned if greater central control and accountability of NHS purchasing
could be achieved when some responsibility for procurement decisions is to be
Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) last month said it was not clear how the £1.2 billion procurement savings outlined by the DH
would be achieved
when it cannot control how foundation trusts buy.
is an appetite for centralised procurement but the political reforms in the NHS
are going the other way,” Loudon told delegates at the Public Procurement Show
in London yesterday. “The coalition government’s move towards more
decentralised NHS procurement by handing commissioning to GPs locally and its
decision to make all trusts foundation trusts goes against PAC recommendations
for more central control and accountability of NHS procurement.”
she was confident other suggestions could be acted on centrally. Loudon said it
could work with NHS Supply Chain to review its competitiveness and
attractiveness to trusts. Bar coding has also been introduced on products, to
allow trusts to compare how much they pay for similar items.
said it was “not surprising” the report had concluded “we don’t know what we
are spending our money on” because procurement capability at trusts varies.
added the report had drawn attention to the issue among NHS leaders. “One
positive thing that has come out of the findings is that the resulting media
attention and union interest has caught the attention of the chief executives
of the trusts. We have set up a chief executive forum to advise them on how
they can procure more effectively.”
QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivityand Prevention) programme
was established 18 months ago and provides guidance and support to trusts to
purchase more efficiently. However, it has no mandate to make trusts comply
with suggestions it makes.
DH plans will respond to the PAC recommendations on 7 July.