NHS Improvement is appointing four regional procurement leads to spearhead the efficiency drive set out in the Carter review.

The regulator is creating roles to lead the work on procurement, price benchmarking and “service consolidation” across the London, South, Midlands and East, and North regions. The four leads are expected to start work this summer.

The news comes at a key time for NHS procurement staff and suppliers, with NHS Improvement accepting the recommendation of Lord Carter’s review that all trusts reduce their non-pay spending 10 per cent by April 2018.

Significant changes to procurement, including monthly reporting of spending data, have already taken place and a full NHS Purchasing Price Index for 100 products has been created.

The appointments were welcomed by the professional body representing NHS procurement staff.

The new chair of the Health Care Supply Association, Alan Hoskins, said: “The HCSA has for many years campaigned for a better structure within which NHS procurement is delivered – these new roles offer opportunity both for individuals and the NHS. We fully support their appointment and welcome the this further step towards recognising the contribution procurement makes to patient care.”

The roles will be at pay band nine and will sit in the regulator’s operational productivity directorate, led by Jeremy Marlow.