By Max Clarke

The National Audit Office report, The procurement of consumables by NHS acute and Foundation trusts, published this morning, detailed significant opportunities for cost reduction for Hospitals.

“At least 10 per cent of hospitals’ spending on consumables, amounting to some £500 million a year, could be saved if trusts got together to buy products in a more collaborative way.

Commented Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office earlier today.

“In the new NHS of constrained budgets, trust chief executives should consider procurement as a strategic priority. Given the scale of the potential savings which the NHS is currently failing to capture, we believe it is important to find effective ways to hold trusts directly to account to Parliament for their procurement practices.” He continued.

Elizabeth Fells, CBI Head of Public Services Reform, said:

“NHS Trusts need to get more business-like and ensure they are making the most of their combined spending power to deliver the best value for taxpayers and patients.

“Achieving economies of scale will go some way towards delivering savings of £15-£20 billion by 2015.

“As well as greater collaboration across Trusts, the best provider should be able to compete to deliver NHS services, whether they are from the public, private or third sector.”