Hospitals (1)

The answer is “Yes” but what needs to happen is a step change in the provision of services and embracing technology. 

We do not advocate removal of human intervention but enhancing it.  Technology should be used to remove paperwork and form filling at the nurse’s station.  Admissions on electronic forms that are extracted from a central database which then means it is a checking and correcting process not a completion task.  These are maybe minor activities but when you reflect these across a major hospital it very soon will save days if not weeks of activities across the year.

What happens with saved time?

Waiting lists are always positioned as targets either met or not, changed interpretation or figures reset.  Waiting lists are not the problem! The problem is the capacity of the hospital and its process management to churn more people in and more procedures carried out.

What about operations and the lack of consultants? 

The requirement to maximise theatre time is fundamental to the success of the hospital and what needs to happen in every hospital is the requirement to understand, plan and schedule procedures.  Operations should be carried out throughout the week and even at the weekends.  This means that the specialist consultants required would be 3 or 4 if one procedure could be carried out continually on a known demand basis.

The business analysis of the processes is fundamental and targets defined as to what is realistic and achievable.  Management must support this process of change and identify contingency.  The movement of staff utilising expensive equipment and procedures is important and joined up and partnering agreements with the neighbouring hospitals.

So, in summary the NHS is a massive company with complex processes and is often dragged down by the paper chase that is happening in the background.  Technology can remove most of this and free resources. The processes need to be reengineered, per hospital and then collectively across the sector.  Cash resources thrown into a pot which is funding the wrong areas is worrying as the return is never going to be achieved.

In a recent conversation referenced with a senior consultant over the question of Brexit and the impact of numbers coming in to the UK.  The answer was the issue is not the resources but the level of knowledge and command of English.  Assuming the numbers decrease from the EU it will allow the correct people to be screened and employed coming from non-EU countries.  The main consideration on this point is the terms trained and their command of English thus reducing management intervention and supervision.

Finally revisiting the initial question, hospitals need to change using technology to release staff resources and all this underpinned with processes to improve the throughput of people with hospital procedures carried out.  The right resources are needed but the processes need to be defined properly to identify the gaps. 

A hospital is a manufacturing, care and repair company and should operate as such!

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