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New NHS procurement strategy welcomed by the BHTA

14th August 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

The British Healthcare Trades Association has commented on the new buying strategy that was recently set out by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter, a strategy that is designed to ensure the NHS budget is spent as effectively as possible.

Health Minister Dan Poulter outlined a radical new way in which the NHS can reduce the cost of procurement. NHS services are set to benefit from a new website that will compare the prices of everything from curved stairlifts to latex gloves, similar to the style of price comparison websites that help members of the public find the best deals on car insurance, credit cards and more. The aim, as outlined by the Health Minister, is to make NHS spending more efficient, hopefully resulting in the NHS saving £1.5 billion within the next three years according to this BBC News article.

On top of this, hospitals will need to be transparent about their spending and get involved with price benchmarking, ensuring that it is easy to see how the budget on supplies and services is being spent. Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of NHS England, has welcomed the news and has said that there have been too many instances in the past where "organisations do not act collectively and fail to secure the best deal", according to this report from legal news site Out-Law.com. By ensuring that departments work together and make better use of the NHS Supply Chain, the NHS could amount even more buying power, enabling them to get the optimum value for money from the products they purchase.

The BHTA, the largest healthcare association in the UK, responded positively to the news, saying that many providers of assistive technology across England already have schemes in place that can create substantial cost savings for the NHS. From riser recliner chairs to scooters, the BHTA and its members are working on creating a barcode system for products, allowing for there to be greater transparency in spending that can then help the NHS to reduce costs.

Aside from schemes such as this, the assistive technology sector and providers of independent-living aids are already helping the NHS to make substantial savings by helping people to live safely and independently at home, reducing the risk of hospitalisation that has a knock-on effect of putting greater pressure on NHS resources. As well as helping those with long term conditions enjoy living at home in an environment that is safe and comfortable for them, the use of independent-living aids can also benefit the NHS budget, an area of public spending that is constantly under scrutiny.

Image Credit: comedy_nose (flickr.com)