Latest news – NAO publish report on hospital consumables procurement

The National Audit Office have published their report on hospital consumables procurement.

It is no surprise to find that there are major opportunities for rationalisation, better practices, more intelligent use of data etc.  NAO also point out that there is no central control that can be applied over Foundation Trusts - and of course this will get worse as all Trusts will have Foundation status before too long.

We'll feature the findings in more detail later this week when we've read the report properly, but for now, this quote from the NAO press release pretty much sums up the issues:

There is also a large variation between trusts: one bought 13 different types of glove, whilst another bought 177 different types.

I love that - one hospital buying 177 different sorts of glove.  Can you imagine the poor old Assistant Buyer; "I'm so sorry, I thought you wanted the Pal powder free nitrile gloves in blue with the re-inforced thumb insert, NOT the pink vinyl version with the go-faster stripes and air conditioning..."

Clinical preference is a wonderful thing, is it not?

Voices (3)

  1. Rob:

    Whoops. Sorry, but I was incorrect on one point, in respect of what was pursued. Back in 2005, it was recommended, by the world’s leading procurement consultancy, to implement a ‘national data warehouse’ that would capture spend, suppliers, pricing, volumes, codes across the NHS – the lot – the sort of development you might see in any world class organisation. It wasn’t pursued.

  2. Rob:

    “Given the scale of the potential savings which the NHS is currently failing to capture, we believe it is important to find effective ways to hold trusts directly to account to Parliament for their procurement practices.”

    Sadly, this alone articulates how out of touch the NAO is in respect of the direction the Health market is taking, and has been, since late 2006. And, I recall, they kicked off this piece of work in early 2006. And all they are recommending is what was actually being pursued back in 2006.

    It’s woeful.

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