NHS buyers not using their loaf

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A loaf of gluten-free bread costs the NHS up to £32. You can buy the same gluten-free loaf freely from your local supermarket for around £2.50. However bungling NHS procurement officials thought £32 for a loaf of bread was value for money. That's getting on for £3 a slice.


Oh crumbs

Much of this enormous bread bill has been blamed on admin charges. (Eh?) It was also discovered that NHS officials in Wales paid out almost £12 for a bag of pasta and well over £7 for gluten-free biscuits. All for sale at far, far lower prices on the high street.

Gluten-free bread is subsidised via the NHS to those with coeliac disease (it's a serious medical condition, not an opt-out choice like being vegetarian).

But it's not clear why the NHS needs to be physically handing out the bread, or handling it on prescription. This sort of bread is increasingly widely available, no longer the preserve of specialist or health food shops.

Bread to be made

Welsh Assembly Shadow health minister Darren Miller revealed the charges which amounted, over a year, to £1.25m. Good business for gluten-free bread makers, of course.

Apart from gluten-free bread, nurses and doctors can probably buy many other work basics at their local supermarket at prices a lot cheaper than what is paid at work. As many other public sector workers will know from their own purchasing supply chain experience.

What are your examples?

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