Medical Equipment: Procurement

Department of Health written question – answered on 4th January 2016.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Health), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the clinical and ethical justifications for setting the benchmark in the NHS Supply Chain generic project plans for a national formulary for wound care that 80 per cent of patients will be treated using clinically appropriate dressings.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

The wide variety of choice in the current system is leading to duplication of wound care products. This can create more complexity for nurses and clinicians, making their clinical decisions more difficult and potentially leading to over specification and variation in standards of care. Of the 4,796 wound care products available through the NHS Supply Chain, 34% of lines have had no sales in the last 12 months.

Providing an agreed set of National Health Service requirements for wound care products will start to reduce this duplication, complexity and therefore potential risk, helping to improve patient outcomes through less variation in care.

This issue was also highlighted by 74% of respondents to a Royal College of Nursing survey run by Nursing Times (Dec 2014) seeing opportunities to reduce duplication on wound care products, (more than any other type of product).

The project is part of a wider piece of work the Department is working with the NHS Supply Chain on to deliver £300 million of savings by October 2018. Central to this is reducing the number of specifications and variations by category so the NHS can leverage its scale and deliver clinically appropriate solutions that represent ‘value for money’. Such approaches are common in other countries and help drive savings, improve clinical standards and protect front line nursing.

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