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Thursday 27th October 2016

More power needed by clinical teams in hospitals

27th January 2012

An influential health charity has warned that hospital boards must be willing to give more power and control to clinical teams in order to realise the benefits of service-line management (SLM).

The latest report from the King’s Fund raises concerns over inconsistent implementation of SLM, with variation between and even within trusts.

The document says the current financial climate should act as a greater incentive for trusts to devolve control to specialist clinical areas, managed as distinct operational units, because SLM should improve quality and productivity as clinical leaders gain a greater understanding of services’ costs and performance.

However, the charity believes the opposite is happening in many trusts.

The Service-line management: Can it improve quality and efficiency? report suggested some trusts are centralising control to cope with tighter budgets.

Lead author Catherine Foot, who is senior fellow at The King’s Fund, said: “It is clear that hospitals need to resist any temptation to row back from progress made in service-line management.

“Quite the contrary, increasing pressure for efficiency savings should drive hospital boards forward as SLM offers a means by which to gain a clear picture of a hospital’s activity and performance. This, in turn, allows informed and effective choices and decisions to be made.”

The charity found the majority of people interviewed for the report recognised the value of SLM to the management of the trust but there needed to be a balance between realising the benefits from implementing these approaches and understanding they are only part of a wider solution to improve quality and efficiency.


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