Atlantis Medical News

NHS must use bulk buying power


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UPDATED

04 APR 2018


It is obvious that the NHS must make major savings if it hopes to provide a high standard of service to patients. The level of pressure placed on the National Health Service is such that even well-run and well-meaning departments find that they must budget meticulously and are often faced with tough decisions which cause problems to themselves or their patients. Therefore, any step that can be taken to save money without compromising on the quality of service has to be regarded as a positive step for all in the country.


The news that a collection of NHS hospitals managed to save £400,000 a year by using the same make of surgical gloves is an example of what can be achieved. There are seven hospitals in Sheffield who have collaborated to purchase in bulk and lower overheads. The organisations involved are utilising a price-matching scheme for commonly used products within the NHS.


Huge savings are made when Trusts work together
By negotiating a lower price on the same brand of products for all the organisations, £2m was saved, which is an indicator of the bulk buying power the NHS has. You can see why many people have immediately said that the NHS should be acting like this across the country. There is an argument to be made for the bulk-buying power the NHS would hold if they were to buy as a single entity and given the increasing level of pressure the organisation is facing, it is likely that further calls will be made for the organisation to act in this manner.


It has been found that there are huge differences in what some Trusts pay for routine items. An example of this has been the fact that some NHS Trusts are paying more than double for equipment like surgical scalpels compared to other Trusts. This is money that could be put to much better use and it is likely that there will be changes in the NHS with respect to its buying activities.


Some prize differences are baffling for NHS
Another example came with the fact that one Trust was buying a package of 100 surgical syringes for £12 while a local NHS organisation was only paying £4. The price of a 12 pack of bandages was found to vary between 35p and £16.47 while 100 adhesive plasters cost between £1.68 and £21.76. Whoever was agreeing to pay more than £20 for 100 adhesive plasters needs to receive guidance on how to use money effectively but savings can be made without impacting on quality of service for patients.


At Atlantis Medical, we understand the pressure the NHS is under and we know that the best value for money product isn’t necessarily the cheapest product. However, there must be a need for sensible purchasing in the NHS and the size and scale of the NHS can be used in a more effective way. You will also find that many firms are keen to work with the NHS so there could be an opportunity to make savings by finding these willing suppliers.

 

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