Responding to the interim report of the Carter Review, Nigel Edwards said:
“Lord Carter is right that there is waste within the health service and that enormous savings could be made through standardisation. But this has been a long-standing issue in the NHS. Spending public money better has been the holy grail of public sector spending reductions over the past 20 years. Diagnosing the problem is the easy bit. Getting solutions to stick is much, much harder.
Diagnosing the problem is the easy bit. Getting solutions to stick is much, much harder.Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive
“The dilemma for the NHS is that hospital trusts operate autonomously: there is a very fine line between trusts using their market power and moving towards a standardised approach which can create a huge state bureaucracy that is inflexible to change.
“Properly solving this problem will need both a relentless focus on value for money in every single trust, and also to overcome cultural barriers - we need to equip those working within the NHS with the time, skills and expertise to become more savvy consumers.
“For many areas, it isn’t just a matter of buying new or different supplies. Surgeons and other clinicians are trained to use particular types of equipment, which means there are significant potential training costs if these are changed.
“These are perennial issues for the NHS, and perhaps explain why this is the third big review of procurement in just over a decade.”