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Sunday 19th November 2017

Better management key to NHS

14th August 2006

27042006_empty_corridor.jpgAccording to an article in the BMJ investing more in good managers and appropriate IT may be a far more effective way to improve the working lives of doctors and nurses than recruiting more staff.

Management Consultant Stephen Black writes that those who are against reforming the NHS blame its problems on bureaucracy, a lack of resources, government interference in clinical judgement, and the 'greed' of the private sector. However, there is evidence that better management makes more difference than greater investment, says Black.

Anti-reformers’ argue that we should spend more on “frontline? staff, making the assumption that the only thing that matters is how many doctors and nurses there are. This assumption may distract the NHS from simple changes in working practice that could dramatically improve patient care, Black says.

Evidence of the impact of hospital organisation can be seen in two areas in particular: emergency departments and bed management.

Research indicates that hospitals could solve their bed problems quickly and cheaply by organising beds better. Also independent data from A&E departments finds no relationship between staffing levels and performance.

Black says that increasing resources is a poor way to fix performance problems; a well organised hospital is a better place to work than a badly organised one with twice the number of staff.

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