NEWLY-published ‘efficiency data’ has suggested the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals are paying over the odds for various medical and surgical items.

The NHS Procurement Atlas showed variations in the price being paid for essential equipment, and said East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) could be saving more than £135,000 by buying cheaper products.

The data suggests ELHT has generally been getting worse deals than most NHS trusts on cannulas and catheters, medical gloves and medical and surgical consumables.

For example, it paid the highest price of £11.60 for blood sample tubes, accord-ing to the data, compared to the £10.02 paid by a trust in east London. Hospital bosses welcomed the publication, but said it only gave a ‘broad brush picture which does not tell the whole story’.

One of the starkest variations saw Whalley-based Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation pay £22 for 100 units of sodium chloride irrigation fluid, while Airedale Hospital paid just £14 for the same item.

The data suggested Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, the county’s mental health provider, could save £49,000, while North West Ambulance Service could save £11,600 by sourcing cheaper items.

Calderstones could save about £2,300 and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, which runs Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, could save about £70,000.

The government is planning to issue a core procurement list in the autumn, which will mean that hundreds of everyday supplies can be bought on a national scale, ensuring cheaper prices.

Jason Tudor, head of procurement at ELHT, said: “The trust welcomes this initiative which should prove useful in supporting the NHS to get the best price and quality for goods and services we buy.”