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NHS 'needs new supply chain skills'
The NHS should use the recent criticism of its procurement practices as an opportunity to investigate new ways of doing business, a supply chain expert has claimed.
In an article for Public Finance, partner in Ernst & Young's health practice Joe Stringer said the health service needs to become "a more intelligent customer" in order to make spending processes more efficient.
His comments follow a new report from the National Audit Office, which claimed the NHS could save up to £500 million a year by changing the way it purchases basic supplies such as bandages and paper clips.
Mr Stringer said there are several ways for the health service to respond to these findings, such as reducing demand frequency, standardising in certain areas and encouraging re-use where possible.
However, he added that the process will require "a very different set of skills from those usually found within a typical NHS procurement team".
The expert said the new approach will demand more working across internal silos and greater collaboration with other trusts.
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