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Darzi procurement process should be scrapped says think tank

By Gareth Iacobucci

The system being used by many PCTs to procure the new network of GP led health centres should be scrapped, according to a health policy think tank.

A report by Policy Exchange said the collective hubs, which have helped PCTs to procure Lord Darzi's new GP-led health centres, are contributing to inefficiency that is costing the NHS more than £2bn a year.

It said the hubs, which have been set-up regionally to give PCTs greater commissioning clout, should be replaced by central procurement bodies, to enable trusts to purchase services through a more standardised system.

The report, entitled ‘All Change Please', said some NHS purchasing procedures had barely moved on since the health's service's inception.

Other problems cited were that procurement officers did not use a common code system for items purchased, and that neither trusts nor hubs had accurate data on costs.

It also questioned the reliance on paper-based ordering systems, which cause NHS bodies to maintain ‘huge numbers of permanent employees' in accounts to match invoices to orders.

The report also criticised Lord Darzi's NHS review for neglecting procurement in it's analysis of the need for reform of health service.

It concluded :‘Overall, there are huge inefficiencies through the NHS supply chain. Procurement systems and duplication of effort waste more money; between £0.8bn and £2.1bn could be saved annually if procurement was improved.'

Among its key recommendations, the report called on the Government to: ‘dismantle the collective procurement hubs and consolidate all central procurement bodies.'

It said: ‘A central procurement body will have the central task of developing common data standards for all NHS procurement systems.'

Darzi: procurement process is wasting money says think tank Darzi: procurement process is wasting money says think tank

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