The Health Foundation is an independent charity working to continuously improve the quality of heatlhcare in the UK

Flow Cost Quality

In brief

Poor systems deliver poor results – for patients, NHS staff and taxpayers. Until now a common assumption in the NHS has been that more cost is required to improve patient flow and healthcare quality. However it can be argued that, so far, increases in cost have not resulted in proportionate improvements in access to or quality of care.

Our Flow Cost Quality programme focused on the relationship between patient flow, costs and outcomes in two NHS hospital trusts. It examined patient flow through the emergency care pathway and developing ways in which capacity can be better matched with demand, to prevent queues and poor outcomes for patients.

We worked in partnership with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The teams were supported to:

  • understand the emergency care pathway and how it relates to the wider healthcare system
  • understand demand being placed on every organisation and department from all sources (emergency, planned, outpatient and follow-up care)
  • develop capacity plans to meet the variations in demand and prevent queues – assess the gap between current and required capacity
  • test the impact of changes to capacity by reducing the capacity variations, improving productivity, and reallocating resources.

Dr Kate Silvester provided dedicated clinical systems improvement expertise and worked closely with teams at both organisations. Kate has expertise on the design and management of organisational systems to deal with variability in demand and capacity. She originally trained and practised as an ophthalmologist before retraining as a manufacturing systems engineer.

She has extensive experience transferring manufacturing principles to service industries such as banking, airlines and healthcare. She has worked on national NHS programmes to improve the flow of patients through the system, improving the timeliness, cost and quality of healthcare.  

Comments
Are any of the reports mentioned above currently available?
Dear Russel

Many thanks for your query on whether the quarterly reports can be shared.

Unfortunately the reports that were produced were really for internal purposes and include, in some cases, personal/sensitive information. They were not designed with the view for sharing outside.

We are though at the end of the programme and shall soon be updating our website in the near future on progress made and challenges faced as well as doing wider dissemination on what we did, achievements, challenges, learning etc.

Regards.

The Health Foundation
Improvement Programmes
Has there been any progress on producing public reports on this? I've heard about some exciting ideas proposed for or trialled at Sheffield and would like to be able to bring these into education work we do with e.g. the NHS Management Training Scheme and the NHS National Leadership Council.
This work looks fascinating and is aligned with work Iam doing. I would be very keen to know when you will be updating your website on progress made and challenges faced as well as doing wider dissemination on what you did, achievements, challenges, learning etc.

Thanks for your interest.

We are currently working on extracting the learning from reports and intend to do wider dissemination later this year. Please keep checking our website for details and/or sign up to our newsletter.

Regards.

Raheel Anwar
Programme Officer
Hi,

Have you / will you be producing a 'formal' report evaluating the benefits / costs of the flow impact quality work ?
Dear Shaun

While we are planning to produce a report, it is not going to be a ‘formal’ evaluation, and while it will contain some information and the findings from the project, it won't be particularly detailed about costs, etc.

Please see the latest edition of our newsletter (http://dmtrk.com/t/4Y2-1C0LZ-163180AE37/cr.aspx), which contains more information.

Regards.
Raheel Anwar
Programme Officer
Hi ,
did you draw any conclusions about the impact of the 5 day Mon - Friday service model on flow and, by extension, on costs ?
thanks
Dear Deborah

Please refer to our website for a publication on this programme, which i hope will help answer your query. This can be found here

http://www.health.org.uk/publications/improving-patient-flow/

Raheel
This work looks fascinating and is aligned with work Iam doing. I would be very keen to know when you will be updating your website on progress made and challenges faced as well as doing wider dissemination on what you did, achievements, challenges, learning etc.
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