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Bringing home the bacon


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Friday, 25 September 2015

Bringing home the bacon

We need decisive action to keep the NHS in the black. So said Simon Stevens this week, and he’s right of course. Mr Stevens suggests that the answer is to get a grip on agency staffing, but there are other answers and we need to work together to find them.

Here are some of the top suggestions sent in by readers.

Bring in CQC inspectors to identify instant savings in your trust. The boards of several major hospitals were thrilled when the inspection team helped them get rid of senior executives they didn’t need any more. “It’s amazing how much stuff you have lying around the boardroom simply taking up space,” said one delighted chair. “With the money we’ve saved we’ll be able to pay for another inspection or an interim chief exec.”

Issue a report on fraud. Claim that the NHS would have loads more money if GPs and hospitals stopped inventing patients and pharmacists stopped charging for prescriptions that were never issued. Make up a huge number, say £5.5 billion, write a large report and send a press release to all the papers, then stand back and watch while nothing much happens. If you’re a Chancellor of the Exchequer you can use “systemic fraud” as a reason to refuse to give the NHS another penny until it cleans up its act.

Worried about rising secondary care costs? Speak to the ingenious people at Volkswagen Audi. They can write some clever software to show that your admissions are much lower than they really are. Never mind that your wards are heaving with patients, your low admissions figures will result in a sharp drop in income, so having a hospital won’t be a problem for much longer. Vorsprung durch technik, as they say in the US courts.

Do more for less. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? In fact it’s really hard to write a compelling but utterly meaningless slogan. If you’re not doing more for less, you won’t understand how to add years to life and life to years or why it’s so important to think like a patient and act like a taxpayer.  

It’s Fresher’s Week and students at Ashcroft College Oxford are looking forward to getting to know each other in a series of amusing “initiation” rituals including the famous Pork Raffle. Simply enter to win. Former Ashcroft alumni – or Porkers, as they’re known – have gone on to great things. All proceeds from this year’s Porking will go towards keeping the NHS going.

If you have great money-saving ideas of your own or a couple of billion pounds you’re not using, please send them to Simon Stevens c/o HM Treasury, Whitehall, London, SW1A. All donations must reach us before the autumn spending review.

Financial editor: NHS Networks 


Anonymous says:
Sep 25, 2015 01:08 PM

Glad i'm not the only one that was angered by the fraud news earlier this week. Great read as usual, cheers.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Sep 25, 2015 01:44 PM

And thanks for you comment. Have a great weekend.

Jeff Hudson
Jeff Hudson says:
Sep 25, 2015 02:04 PM

Sorry, can't afford the stamp...Great idea number 1:
- Everyone look down the back of their chair/sofa, apparently there are billions back there. I've just found 10p and a potentially new antibiotic growing on a bit of old bagel...

Anonymous says:
Sep 25, 2015 02:50 PM

One element of our organisation did use the 'Volkswagen Approach' to data a few years ago, but unfortunately their efforts weren't appreciated and it was decided that the person leading this project should move on. I always wondered if they had found a new home for their skills, but I hadn't considered the automotive industry!