The authors of the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) report believe that the NHS may not actually need further money from the taxpayer, asserting that efficiency savings identified (in the field of general surgery alone, and without looking elsewhere) could yield an estimated £268 million. Other voices perhaps predictably, for example NHS Providers, disagree profoundly.
Treasonable and potentially misleading, or well-intentioned common-sense? It would be remiss not to investigate these issues with an open mind.
Pym, H. (2017). Could the NHS save money by getting it right first time? London: BBC Health News, August 4th 2017.
This relates to:
Abercrombie, J. [et al] (2017). General Surgery: GIRFT Programme National Specialty Report. London: NHS Improvement, Royal College of Surgeons and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, August 2017.
Savings From Reducing Low-Value General Surgical Interventions?
A systematic review identified 71 low-value general surgical procedures. Discontinuing only five high-volume, high-cost general surgical procedures could save the NHS €153 million per year.
Malik, HT. Marti, J. [and] Darzi, A. [et al] (2018). Savings from reducing low-value general surgical interventions. British Journal of Surgery. January 2018; 105(1): pp.13-25.
NHS England Annual Report and Accounts for 2016/17
Squaring the circle: a parallel-universe confrontation with the official view on the NHS accounts:
NHS England balanced its 2015/16 £102 billion budget and met key performance goals. [Online]: NHS England, July 19th 2017.
This relates to the Annual Report and Accounts:
Annual Report 2016/17. Presented to Parliament pursuant to the National Health Service Act 2006 (as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012). Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 18 July 2017. HC 101. London: NHS England, July 18th 2017.
There is also a “big-picture” performance report:
Stevens, S. (2017). Performance report. London: NHS England, July 3rd 2017.
Further commentary from BBC News:
Pym, H. (2017). The NHS summer report says it could try harder. London: BBC Health News, July 19th 2017.
Endemic Waste. A Relative Proposition?
The NHS was judged to have a relatively high level of efficiency in its use of resources, in a recent international comparison table.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates about one fifth of healthcare spending across OECD countries is wasted; this being equivalent to $1.2 Trillion (£950 Billion, or €1.1 Trillion) i.e. equal to five times the UK NHS’s total annual spending.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 20 – 40% of healthcare spending may go to waste globally.
Full Text Link (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Chalkidou, K. [and] Appleby, J. (2017). Eliminating waste in healthcare spending. BMJ. February 7th 2017; 356: j570.
This relates to:
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; Berchet, C. Cecchini, M. [and] Couffinhal, A. [et al] (2017). Tackling wasteful spending on health. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2017.