News story: Hospital productivity report shows how NHS can make large savings

11 Jun 2015 09:09 AM

Lord Carter says hospitals could save billions of pounds by better use of staff, medicines, supplies and more efficient processes.

Lord Carter has worked with 22 leading hospitals to see how the NHS could save money by doing things more efficiently and spreading best practice. His report finds that the NHS could save up to £5 billion every year by 2020 by making better use of staff, using medicines more effectively and getting better value from the huge number of products it buys.

See Review of operational productivity in NHS providers.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is now calling on the NHS to ensure every penny is spent in the most effective way for patients to improve standards of care while reducing costs. The government particularly wants to see lessons learnt by hospitals who are not being as efficient as they could be across all areas of their work, and could therefore make bigger gains for patients.

The Prime Minister has set out that the NHS must modernise and move to a 7-day service. The size of the NHS means that by doing several small things better, huge savings are possible to help achieve that aim. These include:

The report also finds:

Lord Carter said:

The NHS has some of the best hospitals in the world both in terms of quality, innovation and operational efficiency. The challenge is to lift hospital efficiency to a consistently high standard in every area of every NHS hospital and, where we already perform well, innovate to improve further. I do not think there is one single action we can take but I do believe there are significant benefits to be gained by helping hospitals, using comparative data, to become more productive.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

I’m determined hospitals should focus their resources on patient care by helping them ensure they aren’t paying over the odds for basic items. The NHS has huge purchasing power as the world’s single biggest buyer of healthcare products, so we should be driving for the best-value deals every time.

Nothing better embodies our belief in ‘one nation’ than the NHS, so I want to see a 7-day health service that delivers for working people. That means cutting out the waste and making sure every penny counts so that the quality of care continues to improve.

Lord Carter will follow his report by identifying what an efficient ‘model hospital’ looks like and producing a measure of efficiency called the ‘adjusted treatment index’. This will be the first time such a measure has been published.

Later this year, Lord Carter and the Department of Health will then set out the amounts that each hospital is expected to save as a result of putting in place the report’s recommendations.