New research from the TaxPayers' Alliance has revealed the scale of overpayments on grounds and gardens maintenance across the NHS. Analysis of the data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, a Department of Health agency, shows significant disparities in how much NHS trusts spend. There appear to be opportunities for many trusts to save significant amounts of money by emulating those that secure the best value for money.
The key findings of this research are:
- NHS sites across England, including hospitals, spent more than £26 million on grounds and gardens maintenance in 2013-14
- In 2013-14, NHS sites in England which overpaid for their grounds and gardens maintenance could have saved at least £6.8 million by paying the average per m² of land
- The amount that was overpaid is equivalent to the salaries of 224 nurses
- 43 trusts in England could save £50,000 or more if they paid the average rate for grounds and gardens maintenance. 4 trusts could save more than £200,000
- University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust could make the largest saving of £501,850 if it paid for grounds and gardens maintenance at the average rate
- Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust paid the most per m² of grounds and gardens maintained - £4.30 - compared to a median cost of £0.52per m²
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"We constantly hear about a cash crisis facing the NHS but it is clear there are still plenty of administrative savings to make. Bringing down the gardening bill is a perfect example of the kind of efficiencies the Health Service needs to make so that we can balance economic reality with the need to protect front-line care. Those Trusts that are paying over the odds need to go back to the drawing board and trim these bills down to size."Every penny spent on the NHS has to go into patient care."