Improvements needed in patient care

by guest blogger Beverley Perera-Anderson

It has been noted by experts that productivity in English hospitals needs significant improvement.  The NHS have been instructed to save £20bn, an annual saving of 4 percent, by 2015. The Nuffield Trust has released a report that revealed numerous areas where changes in productivity could result  in gains for hospitals.  One of the areas mentioned was decreasing the amount of time patients spend in hospital.  Currently, patients are spending an average of 7.2 days in hospital. This could be decreased by amending the discharge contract, especially over weekends, and providing more day case surgeries for minor procedures such as cataract surgeries and ear, nose and throat operations. Finding a more effective way of purchasing goods could also save an estimated £500m. Additionally, changes could be made behind the scenes to include human resources and finance, saving £600m annually.  Staffing, which currently consists of 70% of the total costs, should also be reviewed, as it is important to limit the amount of time that is given for overtime and the use of agency staff.  Hospitals have to find a balance between the skill sets of employees to reduce replication and maximize efficiency.  Hospitals would be wise to heed these recommendations to cut costs and achieve their savings targets.

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