A report from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges comments on widespread overuse of tests and interventions. A range of options are presented for cutting waste.
“Reducing waste in today’s climate of constrained resource is really about creating the health care system that we want to have. It is not just about cutting corners or reducing spending. As responsible stewards, doctors can provide a more effective use of constrained economic and environmental resources”. (p.6)
Maughan, D. [and] Ansell, J. (2014). Protecting resources, promoting value: a doctor’s guide to cutting waste in clinical care. London: Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, November 6th 2014.
Coverage of this report in the news:
Brimelow, A. (2014). UK doctors have ‘ethical duty’ to prevent waste. London: BBC Health News, November 6th 2014.
Potential Savings Achievable By Reducing Low-Value General Surgical Interventions
A systematic review identified 71 low-value general surgical procedures. The authors estimate that stopping just five high-volume, high-cost general surgical procedures could save the NHS €153 million per year.
Full Text Link (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Malik, HT. Marti, J. [and] Darzi, A. [et al] (2017). Savings from reducing low-value general surgical interventions. British Journal of Surgery. November 8th 2017. [Epub ahead of print].
Potential Savings Achievable By Reducing Prescribing of Over-the-Counter Medicines for Minor, Short-Term Conditions
NHS funding is being diverted to frontline care by reducing routine prescribing for minor, self-limiting conditions (short-term conditions which usually cure themselves or cause no long-term effect on health), and are amenable to self-care.
NHS England frees up millions of pounds which could be used for frontline services. [Online]: NHS England, March 29th 2018.
Triggle, N. (2018). NHS no to dandruff and diarrhoea treatment. London: BBC Health News, March 29th 2018.
Potential Savings Achievable By Collaborative Purchasing Across Hospitals
A collaborative purchasing scheme across seven hospitals (involving agreed evaluation of the best products and bulk purchasing) when tested on just eleven products generated savings of £2 million locally. Switching use of examination gloves alone saved an estimated £400,000.
Clinician-led scheme in Sheffield frees up millions of pounds to fund frontline care through pioneering ‘price match’ scheme. London: NHS England, April 4th 2018.
Less Waste, More Health: Reducing Waste (RCP)
A report from the Royal College of Physicians covers suggested changes to procurement and disposal of medical supplies, with a view to reducing the NHS’s carbon footprint, and improving societal health and wellbeing. It includes case studies and twelve recommendations.
“In England, there are 165 hospital trusts with a combined expenditure of over £4.6 billion per annum on medical supplies and other consumables. What we use and how we dispose of it has an impact not only on the finances of the NHS but the environment and population health”. RCP. Press Release.
Less waste, more health: a health professional’s guide to reducing waste. London: Royal College of Physicians, April 2018.
An RCP infographic, possibly of interest: ‘Which waste bin?’ – sustainability flow chart.