The Department of Health (DH) has established a £300 million cash fund to help the NHS bulk buy large equipment and avoid wasteful procurement.
The fund, set up in partnership with NHS Supply Chain, will target large equipment like CT scanners, MRI scanners and cancer treatment technology.
It comes after the National Audit Office found last year that some NHS bodies are paying twice as much as others for the same product. The NHS has struggled to make the most of its buying power due to a lack of knowledge between local hospitals about their equipment needs.
The DH claimed that since the new fund was set up, £11 million has already been saved through orders that have been placed in advance via NHS Supply Chain.
“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,” said health minister Simon Burns.
Sir Ian Carruthers (pictured
), chief executive of the NHS South of England SHA cluster, is now reviewing further measures that could be taken to improve NHS procurement. Following a recently launched consultation, a full procurement strategy will be announced later in the year.