NHS trust saves £40k buying bread and milk from Asda instead of traditional supplier

'People are saying why buy off a stock list when we can go around the corner and get it much cheaper' says director

The NHS trust staff claimed they saved £40,000
The NHS trust staff claimed they saved £40,000

A health trust has saved £40,000 by buying bread and milk from Asda instead of the traditional NHS supplier.

Staff at Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which runs a chain of community hospitals, psychiatric wards and mental health wards around Hull and East Yorkshire, revealed last week that they switched grocery providers.

NHS trusts have run up a £2.45bn overspend this year.

Humber trust chairwoman Sharon Mays, speaking to her trust board, said: “I visited the procurement team and they told me they had saved £40,000 buying milk and bread from Asda rather than the usual NHS supply chain.”

The trust’s interim chief executive Michele Moran has also said, as reported by the Hull Daily Mail, that it is often quicker and cheaper for staff to purchase furniture like wardrobes from high street stores such as Ikea instead of waiting “forever for it to arrive” via NHS channels.

Labour peer Lord Patrick Carter is currently advising Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on how to save £22bn by 2020.

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He has called on NHS organisations to learn from the retail industry on how to source cheaper goods.

At the same board meeting in Humber, non-executive director Dr Andrew Milner said: “People are saying why buy off a stock list when we can go around the corner and get it much cheaper.

“We have the same message right at the top as on the ground floor but there’s a difficult bit in the middle.

“If we are going to allow a level of freedom, we have to make sure middle managers feel they can support that and not feel they are going to get clobbered for making that decision.”

The Independent has asked NHS England for comment.

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