We’ve achieved more than double its Medicines efficiency savings target, delivering the best value for the North Tees and Hartlepool region and the wider NHS.
At North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTH), the Director of Medicines Optimisation/Chief Pharmacist is responsible for ensuring the costs associated with medicines are as efficient as possible.
The financial year (2019/20) was a critical time for the Trust and the wider NHS. The Trust’s Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation team together in collaboration with the multidisciplinary medical and nursing teams, finance department and commissioners developed several work streams for medicines efficiencies and quality improvement initiatives.
Efficiency savings target
The financial savings goal within the organisation for the year was set at £1 million by finance, but through effective leadership and engagement, the team led to organisational savings of over £2.4 million. The NHS is rapidly moving towards integrated care and collaborative work and these savings have contributed towards system wide financial sustainability whilst simultaneously improving patient care. The efficiency savings have allowed the organisation to plan to replace two scanners so more patients can be seen as well as improving patient safety through investment in clinical pharmacy and medicines safety.
Getting best value for medicines is one of the core business priorities for the Pharmacy & Medicines Optimisation team, through significant collaboration with the multidisciplinary teams of senior medical, nursing, finance, and wider commissioning teams.
The different work streams that contributed to the savings included medicine switches in consultation with consultant medical colleagues, ensuring compliance with best value regional contracts, clinical audit of outpatient prescribing in line with national policy, liaising with third party Homecare companies and ensuring that robust processes are in place for minimising medicines waste within the organisation. This has required a significant level of engagement across the organisation and beyond with partners as well as local and specialised NHS England Commissioning teams.
The Model Hospital Carter dashboard has been a significant factor in supporting and highlighting medicines with potential for efficiency savings. We have used local, regional and national networking structures in order to share learning and work in a collaborative manner across our Integrated Care System.
The project has significantly benefited the organisation and the wider system, through exceeding the expectation of efficiency target, it has contributed directly to improving the quality of patient care and experience as well as ensuring the financial sustainability of the organisation.
What efficiency savings means for the organisation
Dr Deepak Dwarakanath, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive commented ‘The streamlining of our medicines and the associated costs is absolutely critical in ensuring that public funding is utilised appropriately for our clinical services. As an organisation focused on delivering good care, we must follow robust quality processes, ensuring that we are getting the best value for money whilst satisfying the needs of our patients.”
Estimated total NHS spending on medicines in England has grown each year from £13 billion in 2010/11 to around £19 billion. Medicines are top expenditure in the NHS excluding staffing cost. An increasing level of recent growth in medicines expenditure has been in the hospital sector, where estimated costs have grown at around 12 per cent a year on average since 2010/11. Today hospitals account for nearly half of total NHS spending on medicines.
National policies on medicines have aimed to balance the competing goals of giving patients prompt access to effective therapies, incentivising the pharmaceutical companies to undertake research to develop new medicines, and ensuring affordability within the NHS. Balancing between these objectives remains a continuous challenge.
Dr Mojgan H Sani, Director of Medicines Optimisation and Chief Pharmacist said that “Medicines are the most frequent intervention in the NHS and getting the best value form medicines through effective clinical pharmacy and engagement with the multidisciplinary team in unity have been critical in our processes. I am really proud of my team’s achievements within the NHS”.
Note: team photograph taken prior to physical distancing requirements.