The government has unveiled a radical new blueprint for NHS procurement including the publication of what individual hospitals pay for goods and services.
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter's new strategy, Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care: A Procurement Development Programme for the NHS aims to save £1.5 billion through greater spending efficiencies.
Under new proposals, hospitals could be compelled to publish for the first time what they pay for goods and services and setting up a brand new ‘price index' for hospitals, through which they will be able to see how much they are spending on different products compared to other hospitals.
If implemented, hospitals will be held accountable to patients and the public for what they spend. Hospitals and their boards will also be able to see where they are lagging behind and could do better.
Additional proposals include cutting the temporary staff bill by 25% by the end of 2016 (temporary staffing currently costs the NHS £2.4 billion every year) and working with NHS suppliers directly to strike bulk deals for cutting-edge medical equipment like radiotherapy machines and MRI scanners.
Poulter said: "We must end the scandalous situation where one hospital spends hundreds of thousands more than another hospital just down the road on something as simple as rubber gloves or syringes, simply because they haven't got the right systems in place to ensure value for money for local patients.
"This kind of poor resource management cannot go on, and this radical new strategy will help our NHS get a grip on wasteful spending to drive real change and improved procurement practices so that more of our NHS's resources can be spent on frontline patient care."