QIPP, Efficiency & Savings

04.02.19

Operating room inefficiencies costing the NHS 300,000 operations a year

Nearly 300,000 more operations could be carried out through better management of surgical lists and holiday booking, an NHS watchdog report has found.

In a review commissioned by NHS Improvement (NHSI), it was found that theatres regularly lost time due to late starts, early finishes, and delays between operations, and the regulator has urged hospitals to change to a simpler model of scheduling surgeries and booking holiday.

A third of operating lists started at least 30 minutes late and 38% finished at least 30 minutes early, meaning the 92 trusts involved in the investigation could have carried out over 290,000 more operations if hospitals improved how they plan their surgical lists – a 17% increase in productivity.

The health watchdog expressed concerns that patients are being forced to suffer needlessly long waits and cancellations because of this poor planning, and in particular because surgery lists are planned without knowing if there will be sufficient staff on duty to carry out the work.

Ian Eardley of the Royal College of Surgeon’s (RCS) said it was supportive of the findings and that each trust would need to investigate the possibilities individually.

But Eardley said that the NHS already has one of the most efficient health services in the world and “every member of staff and patient can recite examples of waste, and increased efficiency is a never-ending battle for any large organisation.”

He also stressed the challenges of bed capacity, bed blocking, and workforce shortages as a key time-waster, with staff spend time freeing up beds for patients instead of treating them.

NHSI said hospitals should switch to a model called ‘6-4-2’ where surgical staff declare their annual leave six weeks in advance and then schedule their surgical lists four weeks in advance before reviewing the plans two weeks ahead.

The report also called for trusts to implement simple changes including aligning rotas when staff need to work together, and making changes to scheduling such as moving to shorter operating sessions to reduce downtime.

Tim Briggs, the national director of clinical improvement for the NHS, welcomed the report, but paid tribute to the current work of surgical staff in delivering care.

He commented: “While waiting times for surgery are lower than they have been historically, more can be done, so it is important that we work with clinical teams to identify further solutions and share best practice.

“It is encouraging that pockets of innovation, like the 6-4-2 model, exist already across the NHS and are benefiting both patients and surgical teams.”

Image credit - HRAUN

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS SBS framework launched to help safe return of employees

09/07/2020NHS SBS framework launched to help safe return of employees

A new procurement framework has been launched by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) to help facilitate the safe return of NHS and other publi... more >
CQC carrying out rapid reviews to prepare for future pressures

09/07/2020CQC carrying out rapid reviews to prepare for future pressures

In an effort to help health and social care service providers best learn from the experience of responding to coronavirus around the UK, the Care... more >
Three steps to accelerate the value of data in the NHS

09/07/2020Three steps to accelerate the value of data in the NHS

Adam Mayer, Senior Manager at Qlik It’s no secret that the NHS has been under huge pressure over the last few months. The pandemi... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’ve witnessed. Staff have gone above and beyond, whole hospitals and trusts have flexed virtually at w... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few months. But as we recognise the best of the NHS and its response to the Covid-19 crisis we must not forget that for mental health the peak has yet to come. Covid-19 ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >

health service focus

View all News