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Award-winning scheme could save £64 million for the NHS

Published 28/10/2015

A Royal Derby Hospital team, working in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, has won an innovation award for a scheme which has the potential to save the NHS over £64 million a year.

The pioneering project has been selected by the Health Foundation as part of its £1.5 million innovation programme, which aims to improve healthcare across the UK.

“We’re delighted to win this award, in collaboration with our university colleagues” said Dr Nigel Sturrock, Executive Medical Director for Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“This project has the potential to change the way in which hospitals work by identifying simple changes which can be made at the weekends which will benefit patients and at the same time save the NHS money and free up badly needed hospital beds”.

The Derby scheme will use electronic prescribing data to identify patients in hospital at the weekend whose treatment should be ‘stepped down’, allowing them to leave hospital sooner.

Currently, at weekends the most acutely unwell patients are prioritised, which can result in delays in stepping down treatment for those patients who are well enough.

For example, data collected at the Royal Derby Hospital shows that the frequency of switching from intravenous to oral antibiotics is 68% higher on weekdays than at weekends.

This new scheme will use a health economics team to collect electronic prescribing data which will be used to identify and prioritise potential bottlenecks. Advanced clinical practitioners will carry out weekend ward rounds to facilitate stepping down of clinical care.

The aim is to improve care for patients who will receive more timely treatment. The scheme will make more efficient use of hospital beds, with substantial cost savings to the NHS whilst at the same time supporting delivery of the NHS England 7 day services initiative.

The Innovating for Improvement programme is supporting 21 health care projects in the UK with the aim of improving health care delivery.

Gill Clayton, Programme Manager from the Health Foundation said, “We are very excited to be working with such high-calibre teams, who all have great innovative ideas. As an organisation we are keen to support innovation at the frontline, therefore I am pleased that we will be able to support these ambitious teams to develop and test their ideas over the next year.”

The programme will run for fifteen months and each project will receive up to £75,000 of funding to support the implementation and evaluation of the project.

Last Modified 28/10/2015