Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today's National Audit Office (NAO) report on NHS trusts planning, procurement and use of expensive medical equipment - such as Computed Tomography or Cat-Scan (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners - has been welcomed by NHS Supply Chain.

The report, Managing High Value Capital Equipment in the NHS in England, states that value for money is not being achieved across all trusts because of their failure to collaborate but that savings can be achieved by grouping together requirements for new machines.

"The NAO report acknowledged that 75% of the NHS Trusts are utilising NHS Supply Chain framework's and are enjoying lower acquisition costs and equipment cost savings. Naturally trusts get the benefit of NHS Supply Chain's national pricing and we are already providing services to support a number of the recommendations in the Report," explained Andy Brown, NHS Supply Chain's Managing Director Diagnostics.

Last November NHS Supply Chain was awarded a prestigious healthcare procurement award by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) for innovative methods that save NHS trusts time and money when acquiring medical equipment, including bulk purchasing which releases significant savings and has the potential to make a major contribution to QIPP targets over the next three years.

Mr Brown re-iterated: "The report noted significant savings had been achieved from NHS Supply Chain commitment deals in Mammography, Ultrasound and Endoscopy. We have demonstrated savings for Trusts purchasing individually and the report acknowledges that further aggregation of demand and providing commitment to manufacturers can deliver additional NHS savings."

The report also noted that trusts will face a 17% reduction in capital spending over the next four years, especially challenging as half of all CT and MRI scanners are due for replacement in the next three years.

"This will provide a significant challenge for NHS Trusts and our range of frameworks to plan, aggregate, purchase or lease and maintain high end equipment will be invaluable to the NHS,

Mr Brown said. There is no reason why the bulk purchasing arrangements we have already implemented could not be applied to CT and MRI with support from the NHS to co-ordinate and aggregate requirements. We have invested heavily in Capital Planning and Leasing contracts to support Trusts and this facility, if adopted widely, will lead to more and more bulk buy opportunities for the Acute and Commissioning sectors.

"We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Department of Health and NHS Commissioning Board to further develop these recommendations."


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