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17.04.18

RCP makes 12 recommendations for NHS to save millions via small actions

Modest, small actions can mean significant financial savings for NHS trusts, according to a new report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The report, ‘Less waste, more health: A health professional's guide to reducing waste,’ sets out how those working in the NHS can aid financial savings whilst positively influencing the health of patients and shaping the impact the NHS has on the environment.

One case study noted in the report made a monthly saving of over £600,000 through a health equipment amnesty, where local residents returned equipment that was no longer required.

If all CCGs achieved similar results, the report states that an estimated £128m worth of equipment could be recouped.

Another trust introduced ‘bio bins’ for the disposal of medical waste and achieved annual savings of £13,500, as well as reducing the amount of CO2 emissions by 66 tonnes a year.

The report sets out 12 recommendations with an aim to shift the culture around what individuals can do in their own hospitals.

It says that trusts should develop and promote facilities that allow the public to return medical equipment that is no longer required, adding that healthcare staff and procurement teams should work together to minimise over-purchasing.

It also advises that environmentally friendly alternatives should be favoured where they do not compromise patient care or safety.

President of the RCP, Jane Dacre, said: “In England there are 165 hospital trusts with a combined expenditure of over £4.6bn a year on medical supplies and other consumables. We know that every 36 hours one million patient contacts take place.

If we can empower NHS staff to become advocates of change, even simple changes will add up to significant saving for trusts but will also have a wider societal benefit for the patients we treat.

Such purchasing power and patient contact demonstrates our ability to guide change should not be underestimated.”

Dr. Jenny Isherwood, author of the report and RCP clinical fellow for sustainability, added: “Health professionals should work with their teams to start identifying the simple changes they can make in their hospitals that will deliver better outcomes for the patients we treat and the wider environment.

“The case studies which feature across this report demonstrate that change is possible and that it delivers tangible results.”

Top image: Alphotographic

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