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Consultancy contract leads to real action in reducing surgery waiting lists in the UK

PROJECT

Reduction of Orthopaedic, Ophthalmic and Urology waiting lists in the UK

BACKGROUND

By 2002 the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was failing to deliver the very health services it was set up to deliver.  Waiting lists for all types of procedures and surgery were in their thousands, and the waiting time for a procedure was in years, not months. As a result the Blair Government made it known it was looking for innovative solutions that would not cost any additional funding. The solutions had to focus on increasing the efficiency and throughput of patients without sacrificing patient care and outcomes.

Aspen Medical was awarded a contract to undertake a consultancy project around improving the efficiency and capacity of NHS hospitals without any additional costs being incurred. This was our first project.

Soon after delivering our report to the UK Government, we won a contract to clear the hip and knee replacement waiting list.  The contract, for Nuffield Hospitals, covered several sites and was undertaken as part of the UK Government’s Gsup1 project, designed to demonstrate improvements in healthcare provision. Both the NHS and Nuffield Hospitals were also undergoing a restructure at this time, adding another layer of complexity for our team.

By mid-2004 we had successfully delivered on our first contract.  We had conducted 7,000 hip and knee replacements and 5,000 minor orthopaedic procedures during the engagement period.

Our success in reducing the waiting lists in Northern England's NHS system led to subsequent contracts with the NHS in Northern Ireland focussing on the reduction in Orthopaedic, Ophthalmic and Urology waiting lists.

CHALLENGES

  • Rapid requirement for qualified and credentialed health professionals
  • Sensitive and complex political environment