Many NHS hospitals in England are paying over the odds for supplies, a snapshot investigation suggests.
The findings come despite long-standing concerns from MPs and the National Audit Office over wasteful procurement. Ernst and Young looked at 10 NHS hospital trusts out of 166 – and found the prices paid for the same box of medical forceps ranged from £13 to £23.
For an identical box of blankets the lowest price was £47, the highest more than £120.
Joe Stringer, from Ernst & Young, said the discrepancies were “staggering”, and he warned that the problem was getting worse. Trusts, he said, were reluctant to share information for fear of helping their competitors.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “The government is encouraging hospitals to think and act like independent businesses. As a result, they’re losing the potential for the NHS to use its collective buying power. Market-based health systems cost more not less and this is one of the reasons why.” Market-based? Isn’t that a euphemism for Privatised?
The Big Picture has featured the NHS before and it doesn’t seem like they’re out of the woods yet. Andy Burnham’s quote above appears to give the impression that privatised services cost more not less. This is exactly the message that we, and others, have been trying to get across.
What will it take to get this steamrollering government to climb down off their hobbyhorses and actually do something for the good of the country?
All of this sounds just a little bit similar to the situation highlighted by our own @J_amesP back in August. 43 Police Forces of England and Wales seem to have 43 different versions of the uniform. How nonsensical is that? Like the NHS standardisation would bring about cheaper procurement. Simples. But there’s probably a Lord somewhere that owns a company that makes Police uniform, so it won’t happen.