Some NHS hospitals charged double rate for medical supplies
Some NHS hospitals are paying twice the charged rate for essential medical supplies as others- wasting up to £475 on each piece of equipment.A study found that some hospitals were paying hundreds of pounds over the odds and negotiating better deals could save taxpayers £500 million a year.
Knee implants were sold to one NHS trust for £1,109, while another paid just £634 for an identical product.
In other instances, some trusts paid £124 for a box of ten adult warming blankets, more than double the average price, while others paid £10 above the going rate for medical forceps.
Some 61 trusts have bought 1,751 different types of cannula, medical tubes that are inserted into the body, according to an earlier report by the National Audit Office.
One hospital bought 177 types of surgical glove, while another made do with just 13, the same report found.
Ernst and Young, the consultants, and Peto, an NHS price comparison website, analysed data from 10 NHS trusts in England for their survey.
Julian Trent, managing director of Peto, said: “Given the NHS’s £20 billion efficiency drive to cut waste, an obvious place to make savings without compromising patient care is by changing the way the NHS buys products and services.
“Through the simple introduction of price transparency between NHS suppliers this figure can be reduced by £500 million. Price visibility will reduce costs and generate an opportunity for product suppliers and the NHS alike to deliver maximum value for the public purse.”
The Government was already tackling some of the problems the report identified, he added. It has established a fund to help hospitals buy in bulk and will introduce a bar coding system to make it easier to track and compare hospital products.