At a time when cost-saving was as crucial as ever in the NHS, the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust achieved more than double its medicines savings target, delivering the best value for the North Tees and Hartlepool region and the wider NHS while maintaining high quality patient care.
The Teesside trust accomplished the savings through a collaborative effort from its Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation team, who worked alongside with the multi-disciplinary medical and nursing teams, finance department and commissioners to develop several workstreams for medicines efficiencies and quality improvement initiatives during the 2019/20 financial year.
Responsibility for ensuring the costs associated with medicines are as efficient as possible is handled by the Director of Medicines Optimisation & Chief Pharmacist, which for North Tees & Hartlepool NHS FT is Dr Mojgan H Sani.
Dr Sani said: “Medicines are the most frequent intervention in the NHS and getting the best value form medicines through effective clinical pharmacy and engagement with the multidisciplinary team in unity have been critical in our processes. I am really proud of my team’s achievements within the NHS”.
Finance set a savings goal within the organisation of £1m for the year, but through effective leadership and engagement the team achieved organisational savings of over £2.4m.
With the NHS rapidly moving towards integrated care and collaborative work and these savings have contributed towards system wide financial sustainability whilst simultaneously improving patient care. The efficiency savings have allowed the organisation to plan to replace two scanners so more patients can be seen, as well as improving patient safety through investment in clinical pharmacy and medicines safety.
The significant cost-savings efforts and initiatives saw the trust becoming a finalist for a prestigious national Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) award.
For Dr Sani and the Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation team, one of the core business priorities was ensuring best value for medicines, which it achieved through its collaborative efforts.
The different workstreams which contributed to the savings included medicine switches in consultation with consultant medical colleagues, ensuring compliance with the best value regional contracts, clinical audit of outpatient prescribing in line with national policy with third party homecare companies and ensuring that robust processes are in place for minimising medicines waste within the organisation.
Making certain these workstreams were successful also required a significant level of engagement across the organisation and beyond by the trust, with partners as well as local and specialised NHS England Commissioning teams inputting their own expertise and skills too.
Dr Deepak Dwarakanath, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive, added: “The streamlining of our medicines and the associated costs is absolutely critical in ensuring that public funding is utilised appropriately for our clinical services. As an organisation focused on delivering good care, we must follow robust quality processes, ensuring that we are getting the best value for money whilst satisfying the needs of our patients.”