Hospitals will be expected to make set savings in their procurement processes from January, the health secretary announced today.

  • Hospitals expected to make set procurement savings from early 2016
  • Jeremy Hunt says findings of forthcoming Carter review are “absolutely staggering”
  • FTs invited to take forward work on hospital chains

In a speech at the NHS Confederation conference, Jeremy Hunt said the Carter review’s findings would shortly be announced and they are “absolutely staggering”. The review by Lord Carter has investigated procurement practices across trusts.

In September Lord Carter will set out the amount of money trusts could save by adopting “best practice” procurement processes.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt said ‘the hard bit starts’ from January, when trusts will be expected to make specific savings

The Department of Health will then consult with trusts between September and December to confirm what this amount should be.

Mr Hunt said “the hard bit starts” from January, when trusts will be expected to make this specific saving. He added:  “I hope this will help you to release a lot of extra savings.”

Lord Carter will put forward recommendations for a “model hospital”, which will adopt best practice procurement processes.

The health secretary said Lord Carter had found one hospital that had 650 sales representatives with 65 onsite at any one time.

Mr Hunt said the NHS is “not very good” at getting a good deal on products, and cited an example of one hospital paying £12 for a box of syringes while another paid £4.

He added: “Best practice in procurement says you should have between 7,000 and 9,000 product lines. We have 500,000 product lines in the NHS.”

He said there is a price variation between hospitals of 35 per cent for many products.

Mr Hunt also told the conference that NHS England and Monitor will be taking forward the work by Salford Royal Foundation Trust chief executive Sir David Dalton on hospital chains. They will select four FT chains by September.

He encouraged interested FTs to start thinking about how they could take forward this work.

More performance data will now be published monthly to avoid “inconsistencies”, Mr Hunt said. Currently accident and emergency data is published weekly, referral to treatment figures monthly and cancer data quarterly.

All this data will now be published monthly on the same day and will include “safety statistics”.

Hunt: Trusts to be given procurement savings targets