A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) claims that the Department of Health is not achieving best value for money when it purchases high value equipment, due to trusts not co-operating to buy equipment such as scanners jointly to drive down prices.
In response, Health Minister Simon Burns said:
“The government is determined to do everything it can to root out waste and inefficiency so that NHS funds are spent on patients, not bureaucracy. Our plans to modernise the NHS will cut waste, save money and improve the quality of care for patients.
“Equipment like CT and MRI scanners play a critical role in diagnosis and treatment and we are investing £150 million to expand radiotherapy capacity and over £450 milion to achieve early diagnosis of cancer. Already the NHS has saved up to 15 per cent on scanners by working with NHS Supply Chain to co-ordinate large orders over time with other trusts. This is the NHS working smarter, but full savings will not be seen until all Trusts make use of this system.
“We are already developing a strategy that will enable the NHS to save £1.2 billion as part of the QIPP programme by ensuring that trusts take their accountability seriously and encouraging them to collaborate with each other more effectively.
“The PAC makes a number of recommendations on how the new NHS Commissioning Board will be able to help improve the situation. We will consider these carefully and respond in due course.”