NHS Direct announces plans to make savings of £20m23rd March 2010
NHS Direct has announced plans to make savings of £20 million in the next financial year allowing money to be released back into the wider NHS. This will be done by reducing costs and improving operational efficiency whilst maintaining the high quality and availability of the service.
The cost improvement plan is part of NHS Direct’s business plan, which was agreed by the Board on 22 March. The plan could result in up to 25 management redundancies; however it is envisaged that any restructure of front-line staffing will be accommodated through natural turnover.
High on the agenda is improving contact centre efficiency. Plans include enhancing call forecasting and rostering methods, which could save in the region of £3.3m. Work will also be carried out to reduce staff sickness levels by implementing tighter management of long-term and short-term sickness.
Operational efficiency savings include improvements to the IT systems used by the Trust and the re-negotiation of IT contracts, which could save more than £5m.
Each year around a quarter of a million calls to NHS Direct are about dental problems and NHS Direct will increase the number of dental nurses so that nurse advisors can spend more time with other patients. Following a successful pilot, there will be an increase in the number of band 5 nurses working with existing band 6 nurses.
Plans also involve the further development of web services. Patients can already complete the first stage of their assessment online and have access to a range of symptom checkers. More topics will be developed and existing tools will be enhanced to give patients a better personalised experience. NHS Direct’s web first approach offers web services linked to the telephone service, allowing patients to move seamlessly from the web to the telephone if required.
Nick Chapman, NHS Direct Chief Executive, says:
“NHS Direct plans to generate £20m of efficiency savings, which will be returned to the rest of the NHS to be spent on other patient services. We plan to answer at least the same number of calls from the public, serve more patients on the web, and continue to focus on the quality and clinical effectiveness of the service.”
The £20m of savings sits alongside a longer-term plan to reduce management and business support costs by 30 per cent, equating to £8m, by 31 March 2011.
The funding settlement agreed with the Trust’s commissioners for the financial year 2010/11 is in total 123.3m.1 The £20m cost reduction is approximately 13 per cent of the current turnover.
This is not the first time NHS Direct has made considerable cost reductions. The Trust achieved £11m of cost improvements in 2009/10.
Share this page
Friday 7th May 2010 @ 11:48
i work for my local hospital, as a nursing assistant, although i no we need to save money but i think this traffic light sickness policy is unfair, we cant help being sick, looking after the sick is what i enjoy but being warned i might lose my job as a result of sickness is just unfair.....
Post your comment
Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.