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Health Matters - NHS Right Care

Health Matters - NHS Right Care
11 October 2017

Dr Mike Clark, Clinical Lead for NHS RightCare at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG

I’m going to start this week’s column in an unusual way by quoting an American academic called William Edwards Deming. While this may seem a peculiar introduction to a health column, I hope the reason will soon become clear.

Deming was an engineer, statistician, author and lecturer who died in 1993, aged 93. One of his best-known quotes is as follows: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”

And that’s certainly the case for NHS clinicians and managers if they start redesigning services without evidence of what the current service achieves or the likely impact of a planned change.

For that reason, we’re signed up to a national programme called NHS RightCare which is all about reducing variation in the quality of services in order to improve people’s health and achieve better value for money in the planning and buying of healthcare.

We’ve combined data from NHS RightCare with information from local service providers to pinpoint the four types of healthcare offering the greatest opportunity for improvement in Eastern Cheshire. These are:

  • Cardiovascular and circulation
  • Musculoskeletal (bones and joints), including falls prevention
  • Neurological (including epilepsy)
  • Gastrointestinal (including services for people with alcohol problems).

In each of these service areas, clinical staff are working with managers to make it as easy as possible for patients to get the expert care they need, to reduce avoidable hospital admissions, to help patients to take the best possible care of themselves, and to ensure they are prescribed the most effective medicines.

Using the information provide by NHS RightCare we have been able to identify the areas where we have the greatest opportunity to make improvements and have now developed plans to develop our services, which we are in the process of putting into place.

Benefits of using NHS RightCare will include:

  • Reduced hospital admissions through earlier detection and treatment of cardiovascular and circulation problems
  • More people achieving their blood pressure and cholesterol target
  • Rapid access to the right musculoskelatal advice and support.

In addition, the approach is expected to save nearly £900,000 over the next two to three years by ensuring our services offer national best practice.

NHS RightCare is a proven approach that uses data on variations in performance to find the best opportunities for improvement. It offers advice on involving clinical leaders and working effectively with service providers. It describes how to build a case for change, how to prioritise decision making, and how to ensure patients get the care they need as quickly as possible. It also makes it easier for CCGs to learn from each other as we follow a consistent approach to identifying and implementing improvements.

I’ll return to NHS RightCare in a future column to let you know how it’s making a positive difference to patients’ lives.