NHS Trusts have been told to follow new standardised specifications when procuring key items to help cut costs.
The executive director of NHS Improvements (NHSI), Jeremy Marlow, contacted all NHS trust chief executives to advise that NHS Supply Chain and the NHS Business Services Authority will now source the products on behalf of providers. The list of 12 products include nitrile exam gloves, medical pulp urinals and blunt filter needles, making up around £100 million of annual NHS expenditure.
NHSI now hope the new measures will cut costs by 25%, which will depend on “market circumstances”. The suppliers will be selected in January 2017, along with a new wave of products for standardised procurement.
Marlow, who is on secondment from the Department of Health, said: “For this to work, NHS Supply Chain needs to purchase on behalf of all providers so it is vital that you commit your volumes and don’t undermine the initiative by purchasing outside the contracts.”
He added that NHSI wants the standardised procurement to be “a coalition of the willing” instead of “immediately relying on more formal contractual or regulatory mechanisms to mandate compliance with this programme”.
By 2019, it’s predicted that standardised procurement will cover as much as £5 billion worth of NHS products, with the aim of delivering the £700 million of procurement savings identified in the Carter Review.