Healthy efficiency: the NHS and public service reform

The seminars were held in partnership with the NHS Confederation and Baxter Healthcare, and were led by Mike Farrar, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, and Dean Royles, Director of NHS Employers. The seminars aimed to inform NHS Confederation members of current developments in other public services and to share useful experience between public service providers from all sectors.

Lead speakers said:

“The NHS is beginning to get stuck into the biggest efficiency and productivity challenge in its history”.
Mike Farrar CBE, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

“Providers of care need a strategy and I believe that we do need more direction at a national level for those delivering care to ensure that change happens swiftly”
Harry Keenan, General Manager, Baxter UK and Ireland

“One great hope of reformers is that the financial crisis will see some of the traditional silos around the public services dissolve. In that case, health and other budgets can be brought together in order to focus spending on where it can achieve the greatest impact.”
Andrew Haldenby, Director, Reform

“Our model of care needs seismic change…we need to focus on providing more care in the community, rather than simply expanding hospitals”
Dean Royles, Director, NHS Employers

Key themes of the seminar series:

The need for transformational change: Sustainable efficiency in healthcare is not possible by focusing on the “low hanging fruit” alone. NHS hospitals now need to look to opportunities that were previously been put in the “too difficult” box.

New models of care: All public services now need to change their delivery model. In the NHS, telehealth and other technologies will enable care to provide outside the hospital and in different settings.

Take the initiative: NHS providers should not wait for commissioners to create the solutions for more efficient care. They need to be proactive and develop their own strategies to change the model of care.

Culture and leadership: In all public services strong leadership is essential to instil a culture of change and improvement.

Cost of the workforce: Reforming the workforce is vital if public services are to improve and deliver value for money. Like other public services the NHS can change its workforce mix to support new models of care.

Incentives and vested interests: To transform the model of care the NHS needs to overcome disincentives and vested interests. NHS leaders will need to challenge long existing patterns of professional behaviour and champion a service based on outcomes not inputs.