Better value in the NHS: the role of changes in clinical practice

One in seven treatments not necessary, warns NHS chief

better-value-for-the-nhs infographic
The King’s Fund 2015 report – In a time of severe financial constraint, the NHS is being asked to make productivity savings of £22 billion by 2020/21. However, rather than looking at efficiency and costs, the NHS should be focusing on getting better value from its budget. A call on doctors, nurses and other NHS staff to engage in a new mission to deliver better outcomes at lower costs.

The report looks at trends in NHS productivity in three areas – generic prescribing, length of stay and day case surgery – in which the NHS has made significant and sustained gains in productivity over a number of years, allowing more (and often better) care to be delivered within the same budget. It then outlines a number of areas where the NHS has opportunities to improve value in the future, focusing in particular on changes in clinical practice.
The opportunities identified are:

  • tackling inappropriate care – overuse, underuse and misuse
  • identifying and removing unwarranted variations in clinical practice
  • using evidence of to find better ways of delivering care and support services for specific patient groups – such as people with long-term conditions, older people living with frailty and complex needs and people at the end of their lives.

With the NHS facing a huge financial challenge over the next few years, the report argues that action is needed at all levels of the system focused on improving value for every pound spent in the NHS.

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