National Audit Office
The Procurement of Consumables by NHS Acute and Foundation Trusts
HC 705, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2010-11
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'The Procurement of Consumables by NHS Acute and Foundation Trusts (HC 705)' suggests that a combination of inadequate information and fragmented purchasing means that NHS hospitals' procurement of consumables is poor value for money.
The NAO estimates that at least £500 million a year could be saved by the NHS on its spending on consumables, and potentially much more for some products. With no central control over Foundation Trusts, the Department of Health cannot mandate more efficient procurement practices. Responsibility to demonstrate value for money in procurement falls upon the management of individual trusts.
The price that trusts pay for the same items varies widely. The average variation between the highest and lowest unit price paid was 10%. Some trusts are not getting value for money because they are buying many different types of the same product. For example, trusts bought 21 different types of A4 paper, 652 types of medical gloves and 1,751 different cannulas. There is also a large variation between trusts: one bought 13 different types of glove, whilst another bought 177 different types.
In addition there are unnecessary administrative costs because many trusts make multiple small purchase orders. Hospital trusts have complete freedom in purchasing decisions and can use regional procurement hubs, the NHS Supply Chain or they can buy direct from suppliers. Evidence suggests that new contracts are being established which overlap and duplicate each other.
There is no national performance framework for hubs which would enable comparisons to be drawn between them or to allow an assessment of their potential optimal performance.
|Format||Paperback||Published||02 Feb 2011|
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