Barnsley Hospital first to benefit from £300m NHS procurement fund

Capital fund to support bulk buying delivers financial efficiencies on CT purchase

New plans to revolutionise the way the NHS procures high-value medical equipment were put into practice this week with the first purchase of imaging equipment through a £300m Government funding initiative.

The moneypot was announced by the Department of Health and NHS Supply Chain in May as part of a pledge to help NHS trusts bulk buy large equipment.

The move followed two highly-critical reports from the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee claiming that opportunities for efficiencies were being missed because of the poor purchasing processes traditionally used by NHS trusts.

Planning capital equipment purchases through NHS Supply Chain presents several benefits for our trust. Not only does it simplify the procurement process, but more importantly it enables our clinical teams to focus on product evaluations rather than the timely and costly procurement process

At the time, Health Minister, Simon Burns, said the NHS had to ‘up its game’ and get smarter when it came to procurement. The £300m package was to be spent on high-priced equipment such as CT and MRI scanners, many of which are coming up for renewal over the coming months.

And this week Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust became the first organisation to benefit from the capital funding, purchasing a new CT scanner in response to increased demand following the release of NICE guidelines surrounding areas such as colography.

The equipment was procured through NHS Supply Chain, which is able use the £300m fund to secure better deals with suppliers and, as equipment is purchased by trusts, payment for it will go back into the fund, effectively replenishing it for future use.

We have always sought to develop innovative procurement solutions to help trusts buy more efficiently and the integration of the capital fund into the capital model has meant that greater efficiencies are now being driven

Neil McConville, supplies manager at the trust, said: “Planning capital equipment purchases through NHS Supply Chain presents several benefits for our trust. Not only does it simplify the procurement process, but more importantly it enables our clinical teams to focus on product evaluations rather than the timely and costly procurement process.”

“Not only can we rely on NHS Supply Chain’s frameworks to deliver value for money and significant savings in a turbulent landscape; we have the assurance that the frameworks are informed by a wide number of key stakeholders providing us with the confidence that they meet our needs.”

Andy Brown, business solutions managing director at NHS Supply Chain said they were now expecting other trusts to follow suit, adding: “We have always sought to develop innovative procurement solutions to help trusts buy more efficiently and the integration of the capital fund into the capital model has meant that greater efficiencies are now being driven.”

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