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EC Harris expert calls for NHS to respond on customer value

EC Harris : 19 October, 2007  (New Product)
Conor Ellis, health sector leader at international consultancy EC Harris has responded to The Healthcare Commission's Second Annual Health Check report by highlighting the key areas that he believes will have the biggest impact in delivering an enhanced pace of improvement across the NHS.
The Healthcare Commission's Annual Health Check examined all 394 NHS trusts in England and highlighted two key challenges facing the NHS in the coming year.

The first challenge concerns the fact that the annual health check highlights marked improvement at the top end of performance, which is not necessarily repeated at the low end. The challenge in coming years is how to deliver greater uniformity of improvement and to address continued poor performance.

The further priority is for the 'good' category, rather than the 'fair' category, to contain the highest number of trusts. This will require improved performance against new national targets, while continuing to maintain and improve performance against the basic requirements covered by core standards and existing national targets.

Commenting on the Healthcare Commission's findings Conor Ellis said: 'Far from resisting expenditure, providers should be using their capital to drive improvements in hospital accommodation. It is also vital that future business cases are robust with proven measurable benefits as a goal. The goal being better-designed facilities, which will lead to faster throughput and better patient satisfaction thereby gaining increased income and stability.

'The NHS now operates in a global health market and, as such, competition will become increasingly global and investment led. Linked to this health providers must focus on providing a focus on clinical evidence and real consumer value.

'A MORI poll showed that 43 percent of patients think that the private sector offers better environmental standards than the public sector and perceived lower risk of infection. The danger is that they vote with their feet and to combat this the NHS needs to dramatically improve.

'Linked to this is a need for investment on return not organisational whims - we need to ensure that the use of capital should be at least 1 for every 1 of revenue. I have seen many cases where the return on each 1 can be as little as 20p, if you want a 250 million scheme it should easily be capable of paying for itself by re-organising workflows and performance over lifetime. There has to be measurable patient aims and tax payer benefits.

'The NHS is facing competition from across the global health market and competition with sharper teeth than it has been used to. The time is right for the NHS to respond positively to consumer value and the annual health check should be part of the catalyst for this drive.'

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