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Better procurement can save the NHS in England £1.5bn over three years, says report

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 06 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4951
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The Department of Health has told hospitals in England that they must save £1.5bn (€1.7bn; $2.3bn) over the next three years through better procurement of goods and services by learning from and working with other hospitals to reduce the prices they pay.

The NHS spends more than £20bn a year on goods and services, and hospitals around 30% of their operating costs. In 2011 a report by the National Audit Office estimated that £500m could be saved through better procurement.1

However, the Department of Health said that rather than falling, spending on procurement had been growing, and it believed that the NHS could save even more than the National Audit Office estimate—effectively £1.5bn by freezing non-pay spending over the next three years.

The department’s new procurement strategy,2 published on 5 August, said, “It is disappointing that non-pay expenditure in trusts …

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