NHS hospitals save £400000 by switching to same brand of surgical gloves

first_imgA group of NHS hospitals has saved £400,000 a year simply by all agreeing to use the same brand of rubber surgical gloves, it has emerged.Seven hospitals in Sheffield joined forces to buy in bulk and reduce overheads by collaborating on a price matching scheme for 11 widely used products.The initiative achieved a total saving of £2 million, simply by choosing the same brands and negotiating lower rates,  a success with highlights the huge losses the health service is making by not taking advantage of its buying power.It comes after it emerged there are huge disparities in how much hospital trusts are paying for everyday items, with some paying more than double the price for equipment such as surgical scalpels.In November, Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced hospital trusts would be put into a league table to help them compare prices in an attempt to save £300 million equipment procurement.Mr Hunt said there was a ‘baffling variation’ in the prices that hospitals were paying for supplies. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Accounts showed that while a box of 100 surgical syringes cost some hospitals £12, neighbouring NHS organisations were paying just £4.Likewise the cost of a single pack of 12 bandages varied between 35 pence and £16.47, while a pack of 100 adhesive plasters ranged from £1.68 to £21.76.Figures showed some trusts are spending more than £13 on a bedpan that can be purchased for £6.74, with others paying £90 for stethoscopes which could be bought for £26.98.The Sheffield hospitals had previously been using a variety of brands and paying different prices for the same products which all did the same job, but worked closely together to agree on the best items such as anti-embolism stockings and surgical gloves, which could then be bought in bulk.Professor Des Breen, clinical lead for the South Yorkshire Integrated Care System, said: “It was just a no-brainer to keep using products we knew were the same quality as others we could buy for less purely because each department procures them individually.“We knew we had to take advantage of buying for all the hospitals at the same time; it was a lot of work but well worth it when we think of all the extra services we can use that money to provide for patients.“A scoring system was used on all of the products to make sure they met the standard needed for use by the NHS, and the product which met all of these and was deemed the best value for money was chosen.” Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said £300 million could be saved each year if hospitals worked together to get the best deals for suppliescenter_img NHS England said other areas across the country are now comparing their equipment costings to see if they can use the same approach. It has been estimated that the bottom five trusts could save over £11m if they bought supplies at the best prices, according to the department of health.Michael Macdonnell, director of system transformation at NHS England, said: “The South Yorkshire programme demonstrates how neighbouring hospitals can team up to improve clinical quality and reduce waste, working together as integrated systems. It also shows what can be achieved when clinicians take charge.“But perhaps most impressive is that the team has already saved £2 million which can now be reinvested into better patient care.”The Procurement League Table follows a report on variation in the NHS by Lord Carter, which was published two years ago and challenged the NHS to save £700m through better procurement. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said £300 million could be saved each year if hospitals worked together to get the best deals for suppliesCredit:Neil Halllast_img read more