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NHS Procurement: Trusts Told To Slash Costs

Report finds that some parts of the NHS are wasting money and that cost saving initiatives could save as much as £1.5bn a year.

NHS trusts in England have been told to change the way they buy supplies and manage their estates to reduce procurement costs.

Ministers believe the cuts could save as much as £1.5bn a year.

A report published by the Department of Health found some parts of the NHS are wasting money by buying well-known brands of supplies when cheaper alternatives are available.

A new NHS procurement champion, with private-sector expertise, is to be appointed to push for better practice across the health service.

Hospitals will be required for the first time to publish what they pay for goods and services, and be held accountable for what they spend.

A new “price index” will also allow them to compare the deals they get with those obtained by other healthcare providers.

Launching the cash-saving drive, health minister Dan Poulter said: “The Government is putting an extra £12.7bn into our NHS, but that money needs to be spent much more wisely by local hospitals.

“When our NHS is the single biggest organisation in the UK, hospitals must wake up to the potential to make big savings and radically change the way they buy supplies, goods, services and how they manage their estates.”

Dr Poulter today published a document, entitled Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care, which found little consistency in the way the NHS spends taxpayers’ money.

The minister – who is a qualified medical doctor – will lead a team drawn from Government, the NHS and business to work with the new procurement champion to provide on-going scrutiny and guidance to the NHS in driving improvements to procurement and productivity.

The NHS will be told to cut its £2.4bn annual bill for temporary staff by 25% by the end of 2016.

And the Department of Health will work directly with NHS suppliers to strike new deals to save money by bulk-buying expensive medical equipment.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations which provide and commission NHS services, said: “Lots of NHS organisations are already doing great work to scrutinise the ways they can reduce the amount they spend on goods and services and plough that money back in to care.

“But many more could be much more efficient if they fully recognised the power of strength in numbers and came together to drive down costs.”

The realities of getting a job in healthcare IT

Instant advice if you’re looking to enter the health IT field:

  • Hiring managers are making a mistake if they aren’t looking outside of healthcare for filling IT roles. The only roles that can not be filled by outsiders are in clinical engineering and application-specific specialists. For all other infrastructure and integration work you can hire pretty much any qualified IT personnel and they will be able to help you. If you have a choice, then certainly go for the health / medical experience but these days we don’t always have the choice.
  • If a person has experience with CRM / ERP / MRP and many other large-scale IT project implementations, that might be just the right kind of help you need in case you can’t find the deep EHR implementation specialists you need.
  • If a person has almost any significant IT security experience outside of healthcare IT (especially in financial or government) you should probably prefer them over health IT security specialists because health IT security is weak these days.
  • Anyone with deep IT project management (PM) experience in almost any industry can be a useful health IT project manager as well.

A couple of other key points Diann presented in the article include:

Learn how a healthcare setting works. Do your homework. You need to understand the processes that go into healthcare. For example, Shah says, it’s imperative to understand clinical workflows. To begin this learning, read books on the subject, many available from and published by HIMSS. In addition, he says, do informational interviews, network, join health IT organizations, talk to recruiters, read industry publications, visit discussion boards on healthcare IT subjects (even those for doctors and nurses)—basically do anything and everything that helps you learn the lingo and landscape. And if possible, volunteer in a hospital or other healthcare IT setting, say both Figge and Shah. Such up-close experience is invaluable.

Research jobs. This may be obvious, but it’s worth pointing out: If you’re simply choosing a job title based on what you do now, you’re going about it the wrong way, says Shah. You need to do your research to find out what your ideal jobs are called in the world of healthcare and how your current skills answer the needs recruiters and hiring managers have, as well as what you need to add to your skill set. Tailor your resume around the language and needs of the healthcare industry, says Shah. “If you haven’t covered the right keywords, then shame on you.”

Threat to diabetes sufferers as NHS rations testing strips to save money





Diabetes imsge

People with diabetes have been left unable to monitor their blood glucose levels, putting them at risk from serious complications, because the test strips required are being rationed by the NHS to save money, Diabetes UK has claimed.

According t a new report, 39 percent of people with diabetes had either been refused a blood test strip or had their prescription restricted.

Self- monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential for people with type 1 diabetes and for many with the more common type 2 diabetes, so they can adjust their treatment levels.


Failure to do so can lead to conditions such as hypoglycaemia and ketoacidosis, and if left unmanaged in the long-term can result in serious complications that can require amputations, or cause blindness or stroke.

Blood monitoring and treatment adjustment is also necessary for many people with diabetes to go about everyday activities, such as eating and exercising, safely.

NHS England said that all doctors and pharmacists had been told not to restrict access to testing strips. However, many of the respondents to Diabetes’ UK survey, which consulted 2,000 people with diabetes, said that their GP had told them restrictions were in place because of policies issued by local health managers.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said that restricting access was not only causing distress, but would also create a problem for the NHS in the long term, as complications caused by lack of monitoring mounted up. Diabetes already costs the NHS around £10bn annually.

“Rationing test strips to save money does not make any sense, because it is putting people at increased risk of complications that are hugely expensive to treat,” she said.

In total, 856 people respondents to the Diabetes UK survey said they had been denied test strips or had their access restricted. Of them, 58 per cent were people with type 1 diabetes or their carers, and 42 per cent were people with type 2 diabetes, or carers.

An NHS England spokesman said that guidance to doctors on prescribing test strips was clear.

“People with type 1 diabetes need to be fully supported in their self-care programme and we have previously written to all GPs, hospital doctors and community pharmacists stating quite clearly that this group of patients should not have their access to test strips restricted,” the spokesman said. “For patients with Type 2 diabetes, NICE guidelines recommend their use only as part of a wider self-management package in certain instances.”

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