Nine ways research could save the NHS money

This highlight provides nine treatments and initiatives that are cost effective for the NHS | National Institute for Health Research

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The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has published  Nine ways research could save the NHS money.

Treatments and initiatives included are:

Full detail: Nine ways research could save the NHS money

NHS could free up £480m by limiting use of temporary staffing agencies

NHS Improvement| September 2018 | NHS could free up £480m by limiting use of temporary staffing agencies

A new article from NHS Improvement outline how savings of £480m could be achieved if Trusts could use bank staff to cover temporary vacancies rather than using staffing agencies.  Although in 2017/18 spending on bank staff was higher than for agency for the first time in several years, leading to a £528m reduction in agency spend for the NHS. 


But for NHS Improvement, there are more potential savings to be made which could be instead used to improve care for patients (Source: NHS Improvement).

Read the full story here 

The NHS saves over £300 million in a year by switching to better value medicines

NHS Improvement | July 2018 | The NHS saves £324 million in a year by switching to better value medicines

NHS Improvement have released figures that show how the NHS has made savings of £324 million using biosimilar medicines, a biological medicine highly similar to another biological medicine.  These better value biosimilar and generic medicines, which are just as safe and effective as the more expensive original biological versions,  an example being the Biosimilars of trastuzumab, breast cancer drug prescribed in place of the branded medicine Herceptin. They are also being used to treat conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, some forms of cancer and inflammatory bowel conditions.

pill-1884777_1920Further details of savings can be found at NHS Improvement 


The King’s Fund From lab to bedside: ensuring new medicines are available in a cost-effective and timely way


Reducing reliance on medical locums: a practical guide for medical directors

NHS Improvement | June 2018 | Reducing reliance on medical locums: a practical guide for medical directors

The guide gives six practical steps to addressing over-reliance on medical locums and taking great control of workforce deployment. It also contains case studies from trusts who have been successful in finding alternatives to using medical locums (NHS Improvement).

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Supporting documents:

Board reporting dashboard template

Use this template to produce monthly reports for your trust board and more regular reports to your executives in charge of reducing medical locum spend

Reporting and tracking template

This spreadsheet provides a guide to some of the information your central booking team should be providing your executives in charge of reducing medical locum spend.

Reducing reliance on medical agency staff: sharing successful strategies

This document reflects some of the strategies being adopted by trusts to reduce reliance on medical agency staff. All the trusts included in this document have a relatively lower medical agency spend in comparison to other trusts in their region as a result of these common strategies and other strategies reflected in this document.

Further details from NHS Improvement 

Paramedic’s ‘light bulb moment’ saves the NHS more than £2 million

NHS England | May 2018 | Paramedic’s brainwave eases A&E pressures by keeping “frequent callers’ away

A senior  paramedic who noticed that a small number of patients used a lot of NHS resources and staff time came up with the idea to address their problems with an innovative programme. Rhian Monteith arranged a scheme where the frequent callers were able to meet for coffee and a chat.  The scheme The High Intensity User programme was innovated by Rhian who collaborated with other teams to compile  a list of 23 patients, many suffering from mental health problems or loneliness, who had visited A&E more than 700  times during the previous three months, mostly by ambulance. Through personal mentoring and one-to-one coaching, as well as getting them involved with community activities, the patients were encouraged to phone her rather than dial 999.


Rhian helped A&E attendances, 999 calls and hospital admissions drop by about 90 per cent among the group.  The scheme was then scaled up to cover about 300 patients in Blackpool over the following three years, saving the NHS more than £2million. It has now been rolled out to around a fifth of the country with 36 local heath teams adopting the scheme. (Public Health England)

The full news story is at NHS England 

‘Price match’ scheme created by Sheffield doctors helps to save £2 million

NHS England  | April 2018  | Pioneering price match scheme frees up millions for frontline care

A collaboration between doctors at hospitals in South Yorkshire which enabled them to purchase larger quantity of product has led to savings of  £2 million.  Among the savings  was a £400,000 in buying only one type of examination glove.


The clinician-led scheme in Sheffield  involved seven hospitals and required them to agree on the best product and commit to bulk buy jointly to save money. They used a scoring system on all products to ensure they met the high standards necessary for use by the NHS, with the products which met all of these criteria and provided the best value for money selected.  This led to an innovative ‘price match’ scheme that drove down the cost of simple items such as anti-embolism stockings and surgical gloves. 

Full story from NHS England