AN NHS trust has saved £2.4m from its medicine budget – enough to replace two scanners.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool, saved more than double the £1m of efficiency savings it set out to make.

The savings were achieved by switching medicines, ensuring compliance with best value regional contracts, a clinical audit of outpatient prescribing, liaising with homecare companies and ensuring processes are in place for minimising waste.

Dr Deepak Dwarakanath, medical director and deputy chief executive, said: "The streamlining of our medicines and the associated costs is absolutely critical in ensuring that public funding is utilised appropriately for our clinical services.

"As an organisation focused on delivering good care, we must follow robust quality processes, ensuring that we are getting the best value for money whilst satisfying the needs of our patients.”

Dr Mojgan H Sani, director of medicines optimisation and chief pharmacist said: “Medicines are the most frequent intervention in the NHS and getting the best value form medicines through effective clinical pharmacy and engagement with the multidisciplinary team in unity have been critical in our processes.

"I am really proud of my team’s achievements within the NHS.”

The savings are aimed at contributing to system-wide financial sustainability and have allowed the trust to plan to replace two scanners, which will mean more patients can be seen.

The trust said the savings had required a "significant level of engagement" across the organisation, with partners, and with local and specialised NHS England Commissioning teams.

It uses a "model hospital carter" dashboard highlight medicines with potential for efficiency savings. and has used networking structures to learn and work in collaborating across the system.

A trust spokesperson said: "The project has significantly benefited the organisation and the wider system, through exceeding the expectation of efficiency target, it has contributed directly to improving the quality of patient care and experience as well as ensuring the financial sustainability of the organisation."

Estimated total NHS spending on medicines in England has grown each year from £13 billion in 2010/11 to about £19 billion.

Medicines are top expenditure in the NHS, excluding staffing cost.

An increasing level of recent growth in medicines expenditure has been in the hospital sector, where estimated costs have grown at around 12 per cent a year on average since 2010/11. Today, hospitals account for nearly half of total NHS spending on medicines.