King’s Mill Hospital patients DO get value for money, insist bosses

VALUE FOR MONEY -- that's the promise from chiefs at King's Mill Hospital in Sutton.
VALUE FOR MONEY -- that's the promise from chiefs at King's Mill Hospital in Sutton.

Patients at King’s Mill Hospital do get value for money, insist bosses, after a review lambasted the NHS for failing to make savings on spending and staff organisation.

The government review was carried out by Lord Carter, who spent a year working with 22 hospitals across the country. He found a wide variation in spending across medicines, everyday items and facilities, such as heating. And he identified huge ineffeciencies in the way staff were managed.

Lord Carter concluded that the NHS could save as much as £5 billion a year with a wiser approach to purchasing and improved staff organisation.

However, King’s Mill told Chad it is confident the hospital’s policies are already working well and that it is always looking for best value. A statement was released by Peter Wozencroft, the director of stategic planning and commercial development at the Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust, which runs King’s Mill.

“We are committed to providing the very best patient-care and doing so in the most cost-effective way possible,” said Mr Wozencroft. “As a Trust, we are at the forefront of staff e-rostering practices. We have procurement policies and processes that adhere to current best practice, and we have made substantial savings by applying these practices in recent years.

“We recognise that there are always further efficiencies that can be achieved, and are fully committed to adopting an even more stringent approach to the use of our resources in future.

“We will read Lord Carter’s review with interest when it is published in full, in the hope that it will help us to deliver even more cost-effective care to our communities.”

The Sherwood Forest Trust has been plagued by financial problems in recent years. And Nottingham University Hospitals, which runs the Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital, is riddled with debt.

Lord Carter says hospitals must overhaul their policies on buying. For example, he found some purchasing surgical gloves that cost £5.44 a box, while others spent only £2.39 a box.

With regard to staff, one hospital lost £10,000 through workers claiming too much leave, while others needed to make better use of flexible working and rostering.

Lord Carter also discovered that hip operations were costing some parts of the NHS more than double the amount they should. And the hips used did not last as long as less expensive versions, meaning patients needed more replacements and follow-up care. That difference cost up to £17 million extra every year.

“We found some extremely good hospitals and some very efficient hospitals, but there are a number of hospitals that are not as good as they need to be,” he said.

After the publication of his report, Lord Carter will issue a template for an efficient ‘model hospital’ that all will be expected to follow.