A recent Telegraph article reported that the NHS is paying “extortionate” prices for basic computer equipment and services.
It showed that the NHS buys computer equipment at an average 28% more than wholesale prices. This is a shocking misuse of tax payers’ money and shows that the state is often unable to purchase even the smallest of items without insulting hard-working people.
Its aversion to buying commodities in a free market is stark:
- 4GB USB flash memory stick: NHS price £10.50 versus wholesale price £5.28, Amazon price £5.99
- Basic three-metre internet cable: NHS price £1.73 versus wholesale price 72p
- Laser printer part: NHS price £6 versus wholesale price £1.40.
The solution appears simple – basic commonsense and an Amazon account – so why do departments of state fail this way so often?
Whether we like it or not, there are two ways to direct human affairs: either profit & loss or rule following, either entrepreneurship or bureaucracy. Entrepreneurs drive down costs. Bureaucrats, however talented and well-intentioned, are evidently institutionally indifferent to them.
That’s why I’m so glad to support the Government’s drive for Open Public Services.