Scottish Government
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Efficiencies to save NHS £300 million

More than £300 million will be ploughed back into frontline services through efficiency savings over the next year, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced today.

The revised NHS Efficiency and Productivity Framework sets out how NHS boards will make efficiency savings. A target of three per cent has been set for this financial year.

Ms Sturgeon launched the plan with a visit to Stirling Royal Infirmary to see how Forth Valley's diabetes service has been redesigned, with the potential to save up to £1 million per year and freeing up 50 per cent of nursing time.

The framework sets out areas where NHS boards are expected to achieve efficiencies, emphasising the need for innovative ways to remove waste, improve quality and streamline services.

It identifies priority areas to improve quality and efficiency by reducing unwarranted variation, waste and harm, with seven cost reduction workstreams being set up to identify where further cost savings and quality improvements can be made.

Ms Sturgeon said: "It is vital that the NHS operates as efficiently as possible to ensure patients are given the speediest and highest quality care possible and the health service achieves best value for the public purse.

"The previous efficiency programme has already supported NHS boards to deliver £646m efficiency savings since 2007/08, with the money saved ploughed back into frontline services. The new Efficiency and Productivity Framework will support the delivery of even tougher targets for NHS boards - absolutely right in the current financial climate. Although no decisions have been taken about efficiency targets beyond this financial year, if the current level of three per cent was maintained until 2015, this would save about £1 billion.

"I am sure that boards will rise to the challenge to improve efficiency and quality, enabling them to redesign services for the better, as we have seen here in Stirling.

"Health boards have already brought in a whole range of innovative projects to improve efficiency and quality and work such as the diabetes service redesign here in Stirling is having great results. I expect health boards across Scotland to continue this hard work.

"No organisation should stay static. We should be constantly looking at service improvement with the priorities being on safety and quality. This is how NHS Scotland will continue to ensure it offers the best possible care for patients."

NHS Forth Valley has reduced the waiting times for nurse-led diabetic clinics from a maximum of 15 weeks to around three weeks. This has released 50 per cent of nurses' time, allowing them to focus on improving direct patient care.

Dr Chris Kelly, consultant endocrinologist at Stirling Royal Infirmary, said:

"I am proud of the result of the team's redesign project. In addition to improving patient outcomes it has motivated the team by using improvement methodology to arrive at a local solution. We are energized by the results and keen to apply this approach to further improvement projects."

Health boards are now expected to prepare and submit plans outlining exactly how they expect to achieve greater productivity savings. Since the Efficiency and Productivity Framework began in 2007-08 these have included:

  • One thousand bed days a year saved in NHS Lanarkshire through same-day admissions in orthopaedics and ophthalmology
  • Two-thirds increase in joints operated on per day in NHS Borders - up from 1.8 to 3.0
  • Savings of £2.4 million in NHS Grampian thanks to improvements in procurement, meaning more than 70 per cent of procurement is now part of formal contract arrangements.

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