The problems varied and ranged from overpayment to suppliers to paying different amounts for the exact same products are some of the examples where costs can be curtailed, according to John Neilson managing director of NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), He is quoted as saying that managers sitting just a few feet away from each other in the same trust could be paying different prices for supplies such as stationery and surgical instruments
A particular pacemaker was bought at 19 different prices while a surgical tool was bought paying 22 different prices. These costs along with high costs of ICT equipment means that the NHS wastes about 12 per cent of its procurement budget each year.
Neilson also pointed out that administrative costs could be brought down significantly if call centers and other administrative activities were outsourced to India. However, he admitted that there are “local sensitivity” issues regarding outsourcing to India however he highlighted that there was no capability issue.
The Patients’ Association is not too enamored about the idea of outsourcing and is worried about the quality of services to patients. “Efficiencies have to be made, but not if the result is that patients are often getting a worse service,” Katherine Murphy, the PA Chief Executive said.