The chief executive of a large NHS procurement partnership, owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, has left the company, HSJ can reveal.

Jonathan Wedgbury has now left Birmingham-based HealthTrust Europe, the company confirmed in a statement.

HSJ reported earlier this month that there was doubt over Mr Wedgbury’s future at the firm, with the company’s spokesman at Brands 2 Health repeatedly refusing to confirm whether he was stepping down.

This morning a spokesman said Dennis Robb, the chief operating officer at HealthTrust Europe, would be leading the company until further notice.

The news comes at a turbulent time for the NHS procurement sector, with a large push to get better value from suppliers. This includes concentrating a large amount of spending in 11 procurement “towers” that will pre-approve a group of suppliers to NHS bodies.

HealthTrust Europe and other regional procurement organisations are expected to have applied to run one or more of the towers. The deadline for registering an interest with the Department of Health was on 15 May.

HTE’s group purchasing organisation model sees organisations pay a small membership fee in exchange for reduced prices on items sourced by HTE.

Its website boasts 14 NHS organisation members, including Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust.

In a statement the company said: “HealthTrust Europe would like to thank him for his contributions and wish him the best for the future.”

HealthTrust Europe is a subsidiary of another company that is controlled by HCA, a large provider of specialist private healthcare in London. HealthTrust Europe was previously the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority Collaborative Procurement Hub. This was created from the Healthcare Purchasing Consortium (HPC), West Midlands Procurement Alliance and Lifesource Collaborative Procurement Hub in 2006.

It was sold to HCA in 2010, the price is not known. 

In 2012 Healthcare Business International reported HTE had signed up woth Toyota to be its logistics partner and quoted Mr Wedgbury saying eventually he would like to see HTE expand into Europe.

Companies House documents put the most recent turnover of Healthtrust Europe at £9.1m with administrative expenses of £7.8m.