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NHS seeks to save millions with new purchasing system for specialist equipment

Specialist healthcare equipment will be purchased and supplied under a single national approach to help cut NHS spending.

NHS England and the NHS Business Services Authority have set up a new system, operated through the NHS Supply Chain, for hospital trusts to procure equipment including orthopaedic prostheses, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, deep nerve stimulators and bone anchored hearing aids.

NHS England said that they estimated the new approach, based on the results of the Carter Review, will save tens of millions of pounds off the £500m spent annually on such devices by using economies of scale and reducing price variation between hospitals.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, director of specialised commissioning, said: “By bearing down on price and quality variation and making the most of our national purchasing power, NHS England will now be able to deliver these same high-cost devices for less, freeing up funding to help meet the increasing demands on specialised services from new and effective treatments.”

NHS England also hopes that the new approach, which will be introduced in phases by the end of the year, will make it easier to purchase new equipment and allow clinicians to collect data on the most effective equipment.

The reforms come at a tough time for NHS finance, with the deficit set to hit £2.3bn and funding for CCGs fixed at £1.2bn every year until 2020-21.


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