Carter Review says hospitals must standardise procedures, be more transparent and work more closely with neighbouring NHS trusts.
Implementing the recommendations will help end variations in quality of care and finances that cost the NHS billions, Lord Carter has advised Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in his final report.
His review found unwarranted variation in running costs, sickness absence, infection rates and prices paid for supplies and services.
As part of the review, a ‘model hospital’ has been developed which will advise NHS trusts on the most efficient allocation of resources and allows hospitals to measure performance against other trusts.
Following the model hospital examples could save hospitals £5 billion a year by 2020 to 2021 and put an end to the variations the review uncovered across the NHS, including:
- average running costs for a hospital (£ per square metre) vary from £105 at one trust to as high as £970 for another
- infection rates for hip and knee replacements vary from 0.5 to 4%
- prices paid by different hospitals for hip replacements range from £788 to £1,590
- the use of floor space – one trust uses 12% for non-clinical purposes and another uses as much as 69%
- sickness absence rates differ from 3.1% to 5%
As well as reviewing hospitals across England, Lord Carter’s review looked at healthcare systems abroad, including in the US, Germany, Australia, Italy and France where hospitals have a greater focus on efficiency because they have established the clear link it has with patient care.
Lord Carter said:
“My experience of the NHS and hospitals internationally is that high quality patient care and sound financial management go hand in hand. To improve the quality of care hospitals must grasp resources more effectively, especially staff, which account for more than 60 pence of every pound hospitals spend.
Giving hospitals the tools and support to better manage resources will make it easier for boards to follow the example of the best trusts and mean every patient can receive the same world class care and taxpayers will also receive a fairer return on their significant investment in the NHS.”