The National Health Service has been set a target of saving at least £1.2bn over the next four years through smarter buying of goods and services.
Health minister Simon Burns said: “Waste is unacceptable when we know there are simple solutions. That is why the NHS needs to buy smarter and get the best value for the taxpayer for every penny spent.
“We know that at least £1.2 billion could be saved over the next four years if the NHS innovatively changes the way it buys goods and services.”
The Department of Health, working with the NHS Supply Chain, has also established a £300 million cash fund to enable the NHS to bulk buy large equipment such as: CT scanners, MRI scanners, ultrasound machines, and cancer treatment technology.
Thanks to this fund, £11 million has already been saved through orders that have been placed in advance via NHS Supply Chain with suppliers.
The recommended life of the majority of equipment such as CT and MRI scanners is ten years, after which it either needs updating or replacing because of wear and tear. There are more than 200 of these large scale items that will need replacing over the next couple of years.
In addition, hospitals are being asked to drive forward improvements through a series of actions, being more transparent and assessing how they buy equipment and services, including:
• Publish the details of all contracts over £10,000;
• Appoint a board executive to be accountable for procurement performance; and
• Regularly audit procurement.
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