Lord Carter has recently released some further proposals on how to save the NHS £22 billion per year by 2020. His ideas detail a commonsense approach to savings, including ensuring that all hospitals adopt practices which provide the best value for money, rather than the variety in spending which the NHS currently suffers from.
One of the money-saving ideas includes the prevention of readmissions for infections following straightforward operations. It has been estimated that if all hospitals adopt the same thorough approach to infection control £200 million could be saved every year. Currently some hospitals have a 0.5 per cent readmission rate following orthopaedic operations such as hip and knee replacements, whereas others have a five per cent readmission rate due to post-operative infections.
Another idea is for hospitals to build their own social care facilities to put a stop to the phenomenon known as “bed-blocking”, when elderly patients do not require hospital care but are not yet well enough to go home. A “joined-up” approach to care, bringing medical and social care facilities together is regarded as radical by some, however, does appear to be sensible if it saves the taxpayer money and, most importantly, improves the experience of elderly patients.