Carter review: Hospitals could save £5bn a year

Photo of Lord Carter

Hospitals in England could save £5 billion a year by 2019/20, providing there is ‘political and managerial commitment’ to embark on a series of necessary steps, a major new report has concluded.

Published on Thursday (11 June), the interim report of a review into productivity in NHS hospitals says hospitals could deliver £2 billion a year by improving workflow, having a stronger management grip on non-productive time, better management of rosters and improved guidance on appropriate staffing levels and skill range.

A further £3 billion could be released from improved hospital pharmacy and medicines optimisation,  and better estates and procurement management, according to the review.

The findings are based on work with a cohort of 22 hospitals across the country, led by Labour peer Lord Carter over the last ten months.

‘Model NHS hospital’

Using the findings, Lord Carter has today made eight recommendations to the Secretary of State to develop a “model hospital”. 

This includes adopting an Adjusted Treatment Index (ATI) across the NHS provider sector, establishing a single national electronic catalogue for products, and creating standards and best practice policies on productive time, rostering, specialling and skill range.

The final report is expected in the autumn.

Supplies and staffing

Commenting on the interim report, NHS Confederation chief executive, Rob Webster, said the findings have been published at the right time to help NHS providers make savings “from the way NHS supplies are purchased and from temporary staffing.”

"Lord Carter's interim findings are crucial to understanding how costs might be brought down and we expect that the implementation of his review will be developed further with the sector, in the spirit it has been up to now. 

“The potential savings need to be tested and developed with the wider NHS, so that final savings targets due to be handed to the NHS from September, are owned by the whole service.” Read the full media statement

Next steps

Over the next three months, Lord Carter will continue to work with the cohort of 22 hospitals “to further identify and begin delivery of the savings already identified”. Further steps, detailed in the report, include a series of learning workshops, building ‘productivity collaboratives’ and developing the model NHS hospital. 

Find out more

Access the report from the Department of Health website: Review of operational productivity in NHS providers.

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