EXPERT calls for the National Health Service to get its “house in order” and stop wasting cash have received government backing.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt responded as NHS efficiency chief Professor Tim Briggs said the service did not “deserve” more cash until all hospitals took steps to raise their standards to those of the best.
A review published for Professor Briggs of general surgery in England revealed wide differences in outcomes, unnecessary hospital stays and equipment costs between hospitals.
Mr Hunt said: “We want to build the safest, highest-quality healthcare system in the world, and by reducing variation we can improve care and eliminate waste at the same time.
“As this excellent work led by Professor Tim Briggs shows, some hospitals are already working smarter with their money to save time and get better outcome.
“But there’s more to be done and I hope to see hospitals across England replicate this work.”
Professor Briggs is National Director of Clinical Quality and Efficiency at the regulator NHS Improvement where he is overseeing a programme to analyse English hospitals’ performance in different types of treatment.
The “get it right first time” drive he pioneered in his own field of orthopaedic surgery has now been formally adopted across the NHS, with specialists using hospital data to advise staff in each unit how to raise their standards to those of the best, with potential to save up to £1.4billion a year by 2021.
The review published today was conducted for Professor Briggs’ team by John Abercrombie, a colorectal surgeon at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, and is the first of performance reviews across 34 specialisms which has been commissioned.
Mr Abercrombie concluded that reducing variations in areas such as ensuring effective procedures to reduce complications and infection, cutting lengths of stay, and paying less for equipment, would improve outcomes for patients, free up bed time and could save the NHS over £160million a year.