Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust faced a challenging target to save 4 per cent of its annual budget. So they asked us to help find ways to improve efficiency as part of the national Financial Improvement Programme. We’ve worked with teams across the trust’s two hospital sites to save £10 million, compared to £3.5 million the previous year.
Our team worked closely with clinicians and healthcare managers, supporting and empowering them to make savings when the most obvious things had been done.
We helped the Trust find ways to improve systems for scheduling surgery and booking outpatient clinics. New software tools give staff booking operating theatre and clinic slots a clearer view of the time and capacity available. This created capacity for 80 additional hours of operations and 430 more outpatient appointments a month.
No-shows or last-minute cancellations for operations and outpatient clinics waste resources. Sending reminder texts cut the no-show rate for clinics by 18 per cent in three months. Appointment letters underlining the cost of treatment, or the risk of health setbacks for people missing appointments, also helped.
We also worked with the Trust so they could make more effective staffing decisions. We introduced tools to monitor staffing on a daily basis and restrictions on booking agency nurses for extended periods, and increased the Trust’s bank of part-time nurses. These interventions resulted in a 7 per cent reduction in agency spend compared to the previous year.
We’re making other recommendations for administration, outpatients and theatres for example that mean the Trust can make more savings. And what’s most important is Trust staff now have the skills to instigate ways to save.
"PA’s work has had a significant impact on our efficiency. We feel they truly worked with us as partners – collaborating effectively with our clinicians, service managers and project managers to achieve a great outcome. We particularly valued their emphasis on bringing about change that would have lasting benefits – not just a quick win. And they’ve given us the confidence to develop and implement significant change ourselves."
Joe Smyth, COO, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust