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NHS procurement rule reforms up for consultation
The government is canvassing opinions on proposed new changes to the way NHS procurement will function following the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act.
A consultation has been launched by the Department of Health addressing how the health service can manage potential conflicts of interests in clinical commissioning groups, including regulator Monitor's role in investigating any claims of a breach of their code of conduct.
These measures will include several procurement-related issues, including the stipulation that NHS commissioners will not be expected to advertise every contract opportunity.
Staff will be able to decide for themselves what the best approach to achieving value for money is, whether it be through agreeing new contracts, sharing services or extending existing deals, but they must be able to prove they have demonstrated all available options.
Secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley said: "We need to ensure that [patients'] interests are protected and that the health service is doing everything it can to help them, whilst not over-burdening the NHS with unnecessary bureaucracy."
Earlier this month, Cabinet Office figures revealed that the government has been able to deliver savings of £500 million through improved procurement practices in 2011/12.
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