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NHS Has Serious Difficulty With Its Finances
Posted 27/03/2014

The deputy director for procurement policy and research at the Department of Health, John Warrington, has revealed that the NHS is in “serious difficulty with its finances” with 66 out of 245 provider trusts predicting a deficit. Warrington told the Birmingham conference that it is the trust’s lack of leadership on procurement at fault as “Chief executives still don’t give this the attention it deserves.”

With only 600 qualified buyers across the NHS, the organisation is faced with the considerable challenge of finding £2bn in savings. This figure, targeted for the end of 2015/16, has increased by £0.5bn and Warrington has warned that there is also a 7-8% increase in unaccounted annual spending: “Data and systems are not as good as they could be. It’s still pretty embarrassing; we don’t know what the NHS spends its money on and who with. There’s still no central database for that.”

After radically overhauling NHS procurement, Warrington has said that trusts will now be ordered to make procurement information publically available despite some disagreement from suppliers. He expects to save £250m from extending the crown representatives scheme to the NHS and hopes to have all of the 2,500 people “doing procurement” in the NHS CIPS qualified: “If you are in procurement it’s a huge opportunity.”