Publication - Report

Annual Report 2013: Reporting on Quality and Efficiency Support Team: 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013

Published: 20 Jan 2014
Part of:
Health and social care
ISBN:
9781784120894

Annual Report on the achievements of NHSScotland and the Quality and Efficiency Support Team in relation to improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare in Scotland.

118 page PDF

4.5 MB

118 page PDF

4.5 MB

Contents
Annual Report 2013: Reporting on Quality and Efficiency Support Team: 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013
Support Services

118 page PDF

4.5 MB

Support Services

NHS Ayrshire and Arran: GP IT Support

Background/Context

The existing GP IT support contract with a third party had been in place since April 2004 and had been extended a number of times under the OGC Buying Solutions (now the Government Procurement Service) IT managed services framework. A decision was taken to re-tender the contract in 2011 and a request was also made to benchmark against the potential costs of providing the outsourced IT support service with internal resources, therefore bringing the service in-house.

Problem

The existing support contract was due to be re-tendered as the services had been provided by the same supplier for considerable time.

Aim

To provide a value for money and improved, efficient service.

Action Taken

During 2011 the existing support contract was re-tendered. Three external suppliers responded to the Invitation to Tender (ITT) which were then evaluated by a group of stakeholders. The evaluation group agreed that an in-house option should also be costed. This further analysis indicated that significant savings could be achieved by bringing the GP IT support in-house.

Results

It was proposed by the evaluation group to bring the GP IT support service in-house. The in-house GP IT support service is now delivered by a new team of four dedicated eHealth support officers reporting to the existing primary care eHealth support manager and a dedicated infrastructure technical specialist. In addition, all service desk staff were trained in the software used in General Practices so that a more tailored first-line support service is offered leading to more calls being resolved at the first point of contact. Three members of staff from the existing contractor were subject to transfer under TUPE regulations and these staff formed the core of the new in-house team along with existing internal NHS eHealth staff that applied to be part of the new team.

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

Since June 1, 2012 the team has delivered a high-quality service with improved response and resolve times while lowering the overall cost of the service provision.

The in-house costs delivered a saving of £131,000 per annum compared to the contract that was in place and was also £105,000 less costly than the leading tender. A small proportion of the savings has been used to fund an annual PC refresh programme for which there had been no sustainable funding previously.

Additional savings have also been made with the roll-out of 478 new PCs to General Practices which has been carried out by the in-house team. This development work would have been charged separately under a third party contract at a cost of £71,700.

Sustainability

The funding to continue the in-house support is committed on an on-going basis within the primary care budget.

Lessons Learned

There have been significant savings from an in-house support service as demonstrated by the costs proposed by external providers during the recent tender process. In addition, there are other savings from costs that would be incurred through work not covered by the third party contract. This type of work has been incorporated within the overall costs of the in-house service.

Taking the support service in-house has given more flexibility and control to manage any change as and when it occurs.

User satisfaction surveys carried out since the transfer of the services suggest high levels of customer satisfaction.

NHS Borders: Support Services Efficiency Schemes

Background/Context

NHS Borders' efficiency programme commenced in April 2010 and by March 2014 will have reduced its support services costs by 20 per cent, which equates to over £4 million over the period.

Problem

NHS Borders committed to achieve savings in support services, leading by example by increasing efficiency of its services.

Aim

Support services were challenged with achieving a 20 per cent saving of their overall budget which includes estates and facilities, finance, HR, pharmacy management, procurement, public health and other corporate services.

Action Taken

A very clear annual target, with key milestones, was set prior to April 2010 enabling managers and service leads to identify opportunities and actively plan on how this target could be met over the four year time period. Each service was supported by finance and efficiency to identify opportunities which involved linking in with the national efficiency programme, benchmarking support services and working both across SEAT and nationally.

Results

This approach resulted in a significant number of smaller schemes within each support service being taken forward which included the following:

  • increased use of technology - eExpenses, SSTS
  • use of Lean driven process change within and across support services which identified duplication and areas of waste
  • review of staffing skill mix
  • increased use of national contracts and more cost-efficient provision of supplies
  • introduction of discretionary spend controls
  • renegotiation of support services contracts as well as improvement in payment terms
  • income generation by providing services to outside bodies
  • review of space utilisation within support services resulting in the sharing of offices/accommodation including with partner bodies
  • laundry rationalisation following the introduction of Sleep-knit
  • rationalisation and centralisation of catering facilities including a menu review and the limited introduction of the use of cook chill

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

The services have not been compromised and a high-quality service is still provided by monitoring spending and reducing costs where appropriate and safe.

Savings have been made using productivity and benchmarking to ensure services have appropriate workforce models, implementing generic working and cross directorate working.

Sustainability

Processes have been put in place to ensure the savings achievements are sustainable. Support services continue to work efficiently and will be reviewed by productivity and benchmarking on an on-going basis.

Lessons Learned

A number of smaller schemes achieved a great deal of savings by reducing waste where possible and working more effectively and efficiently. It allowed a number of support services to come together and outline tasks and processes that were being carried out that could be streamlined.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway: Review of Admin Services in light of Mental Health Property Strategy

Background/Context

Due to a new build mental health hospital, and the property strategy moving staff from outlying buildings into the vacated space released through staff moving to the new building, an opportunity arose to review admin procedures and rationalise the use of existing staff.

Problem

Cash releasing efficiency savings (CRES) were expected from all managers including the Quality and Admin Manager over three years.

Aim

To use new technologies to introduce new, more efficient ways of working.

Action Taken

A review was undertaken of each post that became vacant through retirement or staff leaving. New technologies were introduced e.g. Winscribe (digital dictation system). Merged teams now offer better admin cover and support whilst reducing staff hours.

Results

Cash releasing savings as well as productivity gains were achieved through new technologies and ways of working together with a change in skill mix.

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

Nearly £80,000 has been saved over three years. One team has been reduced by 25 per cent without loss of productivity. Both admin and consultant staff recognise the effectiveness of the new technologies.

Sustainability

As this has been a stepped process over three years and still evolving, the sustainability would seem to be in place. Staff shortages have still been covered. Using a 'test of change' approach allows sustainability to be built in. We also recognise when something is not working and are prepared to change course.

Lessons Learned

  • short term money needs to be in place to enable the change process
  • take a stepped change approach rather than trying to do everything at once
  • dedicated IT support is essential. Allow one system to properly 'bed in' before introducing another one

NHS Highland: Delivering a Person-Centred and Efficient Microbiology Service

Background/Context

As NHSScotland moves to implement the Quality Strategy (safe, effective and person-centred care) it is essential that laboratory services are fully engaged in what this means for patients and staff.

Timely access to the right test, with the right result, at the right time, are all essential to support high-quality care.

Problem

The following factors were identified:

  • outlier in terms of cost, skill mix and productivity
  • outdated repertoire in terms of methods and tests
  • management structures and staff arrangements not integrated

Aim

To develop a more person-centred and efficient service.

Action Taken

Method

As part of the Highland Quality Approach we applied Lean tools including:

  • outside eyes - external review and benchmarking (Keele)
  • staff engagement and stakeholder feedback
  • skill mix review
  • methodology review (including new equipment and refresh of old)
  • monitoring of sample carry over
  • developing and testing ideas for future state

Future State

  • re-profiling of skill mix
  • integrated management provided by one service manager
  • from five to three operational sections with integrated staff
  • redefine departmental structure based on methodology instead of historical discipline based boundaries

Results

Significant reduction in samples carried over (chart 17).

Chart 17: Figure 1: Samples carried over each week 2012-13

Chart 17: Figure 1: Samples carried over each week 2012-13

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

Skill mix redesign is underway and has already achieved pay savings of £200,000 per annum. An additional £250,000 is forecast once skill mix review and redesign is complete. This work needs to be supported by new equipment and staff training.

Lessons Learned

"The separation of laboratory clinicians from having a direct connection with patients runs the risk of the service not being as focused on patients as it could and should be. A combination of taking laboratory staff to meet patients, hearing patient stories and drawing fellow clinicians into the laboratory were all used to good effect. This all took place during a time of significant re-profiling of the workforce. It's not been easy and requires on-going support and leadership".

Dr Emma Watson

Through the Highland Quality Approach we have facilitated new ways of working which are more person-centred (responsive, flexible and clinically relevant), professionally rewarding and cost-effective.

NHS Lanarkshire: Improving Efficiency in Monklands Medical Records Department

Background/Context

Under the terms of the admin and clerical review there was a requirement to review the efficiency of medical records processes and the baseline staffing for medical records staff to identify areas for savings.

Problem

The following factors were identified:

  • significant number of staff breaching NHS Lanarkshire policy on return of medical records due to historic and cultural practices
  • poor workforce design built around the need to cover for breaches of procedure by other staff
  • inefficient layout design due to expansion of space required to store medical records without cognisance to efficient workflow
  • flexible and rotational nature of staff made roles and responsibilities unclear and created difficulty in tracking and managing performance through the various sections
  • data collecting for reporting but no history of predictive or real-time data to understand demand and capacity and support performance management of staff

Aim

To improve workflow, process and workforce efficiency through all sections, introduce data for performance management and ensure that medical records are available on day of outpatient appointment.

Action Taken

Table 3 details the methodologies, tools and techniques used. Changes made:

  • policy for return of missing records enforced across the hospital
  • WTE required by each section established to support predicted demand
  • internal processes stabilised and redesigned to maximise efficiency through each section
  • pulling and prepping section relocated and department layout redesigned to support efficient workflow and improve supervision
  • demand data via a whiteboard introduced to ensure that daily demand was understood and being met
  • changes in some staff start/finish times and days worked to level load the work and deal with peaks of activity

Table 3

Strategy for change, methodology used

Lean awareness training/DCAQ

Stakeholder interviews

Analysis of policies and procedures

Individual operator observations

Workflow analysis

Data analysis

Tools and techniques used

Time value analysis

Circles of work

Spaghetti diagrams

Takt time calculations

SIPOC diagrams

Force-field analysis

Waste spotting

Voice of the customer

Data analysis

Results

A summary of results is as follows:

  • clearer roles and responsibilities
  • improved workforce and capacity planning
  • better demand management
  • improved productivity and efficiency through the sections - performance management introduced
  • reduction in costs

A summary of the benefits:

  • patient - medical records fully prepped and delivered on time
  • staff - roles and responsibilities clear and tasks/performance required understood
  • organisational benefits - improved efficiency and productivity leading to cost reduction of circa £84,000 per annum

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

Mean number of case notes pulled and prepped per day = 440, therefore a time saving of 440 x 0.99 minutes = 7.26 hours per day. Table 4 shows the mean pulling/prepping time before and after redesign.

Based on known demand for case notes, staffing levels could be set on a daily basis to cover the demand if the pulling and prepping section delivered the required hours of pulling and prepping activity, however, an examination of productivity showed that there could be up to 12 individual operators pulling and prepping case notes on any one day, delivering less than the WTE hours required to meet the daily demand (table 5).

6.5 WTE staff were supposed to be ring-fenced against pulling and prepping activity producing 42.25 hours of 'useful work', however interruptions to the workflow meant that staff were taken off this section to cover other work while multiple staff from other sections were brought in to cover the shortfall. As per the table above, the 12 people on pulling and prepping function on the day shown, between them only managed to produce 30.2 hours of useful work i.e. the work of 4.6 WTE staff whilst disrupting the workflow in the sections affected.

By genuinely ring-fencing the 6.5 WTE staff on this section, redesigning the workflow through other sections and introducing visual performance management, staff capacity could be realistically set to meet daily demand and ensure maximum productivity (table 6).

The staff time released helped to standardise workflow and improve quality through the other sections in medical records.

Improved productivity and efficiency within the department facilitated a reduction in five WTE permanent Band 2/3 staff with associated costs of circa £84,000 whilst maintaining and/or improving service quality.

Table 4

Monklands pulling/prepping section Before redesign After redesign Per cent reduction
Mean pulling time/case note (mins) 1.97 0.98 50
Mean prepping time/case note (mins) 3.38 3.38 N/a
Total time (mins) 5.35 4.36 18

Table 5

Individual operator breakdown
Date pulled Clinic date 1 June No of CR Time (mins) Time (hrs) ave p/p time (mins)
25 May OP1 90 410 6.8 5.46
25 May QP13 56 260 4.3 4.64
25 May OP7 43 245 4.1 5.70
25 May OP6 39 145 2.4 3.72
25 May OP2 38 150 2.5 3.95
25 May OP3 31 140 2.3 4.52
25 May OP10 30 115 1.9 3.83
25 May OP8 29 75 1.3 2.59
25 May OP14 22 120 2.0 5.45
25 May OP4 17 60 1.0 3.53
25 May OP9 15 70 1.2 4.67
25 May OP12 4 20 0.3 5.00
414 1,810 30.2 4.37

A total of 4.6 WTE spent on the pulling and prepping process (based on 6.5 hrs work)

Table 6

Agreed performance
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Mean
Expected demand 476 483 486 424 333 440
Mean pull/prep time (mins) 4.37 4.37 4.37 4.37 4.37 4.37
Mean pull/prep time (secs) 262.2 262.2 262.2 262.2 262.2 262.2
Daily secs available 23,400 23,400 23,400 23,400 23,400 23,400
Total secs required 124,807.20 126,642.60 127,429.20 111,172.80 87,312.60 115,472.90
Staff required 5.3 5.4 5.4 4.8 3.7 4.9
21% 1.120065 1.136536 1.143595 0.997705 0.783575 1.036295
Total staff required 6.5 6.5 6.6 5.7 4.5 6.0

NB: Expected demand based on 80 per cent demand variation
Calculation based on 6.5 useful hours i.e. 23,400 secs available per operator/per day

Sustainability

Sustainability and continuous improvement ensured by means of:

  • regular team meetings
  • more proactive supervision with one-to-one discussions with staff
  • extended use of the whiteboard to include:
    • which staff are allocated to each duty
    • staff on annual leave
    • midday status update regarding case note pulling and prepping performance
    • scheduling and staffing of trolley runs to departments
    • continued use of performance data to analyse issues and identify areas for process improvement

Lessons Learned

  • Engaging with staff and ensuring buy-in and ownership of changes during what is essentially a cost/staff reduction programme is challenging. You need to be absolutely up front and transparent with both staff and trade unions about the expected outcome of the work and how you will go about it, and be available to talk to staff at all times.
  • Using data to understand and manage performance is daunting for both managers and staff. It is important that managers understand the few key metrics they need to monitor and control performance and have the confidence to use them and that staff understand the benefits of performance data in terms of improving the quality and reliability of the service they provide. It is therefore vital when setting up such a system that staff understand that performance relates to the processes within which they work, and not initially to the performance of individuals.
  • Changing culture i.e. persuading staff who had previously decided to 'opt out' of agreed procedures for returning case notes prior to a clinic date, is very difficult to achieve. You need to plan for a prolonged period of resistance to a required change in culture and working practices and hold the line/reinforce the message on a daily basis.

NHS Tayside: Blood Sciences Automation Development: Managed Services Approach

Background/Context

As a result of a review of the delivery of laboratory services within NHS Tayside an objective was set to transform the delivery of the service by amalgamation of the Departments of Biochemical Medicine, Haematology and Immunology into a single Blood Sciences Department. This was linked with the procurement for laboratory diagnostic managed service contracts and installation of automated analytical solutions that deliver Lean approaches to workload delivery, encourage cross disciplinary working, consolidation of workloads, significant revenue savings and transfer of risk to third parties.

The 'blood sciences' model of laboratory services delivery is predicated on taking a Lean, process driven approach to all aspects of service. The model capitalises on commonalities of process, generic skills, knowledge and competencies that transcend traditional laboratory discipline boundaries and exploit the use of emerging and existing technologies to enable knowledge, skills and other resources to be applied to maximum clinical effect.

The key elements for delivery and realisation of benefits from the model are outlined below:

  • Definition of a management structure to reflect the proposed model of service delivery. This mandates delivery of a remodelled staffing structure.
  • Delivery of a fit for purpose analytical configuration. The primary requirement for delivery of analytical systems and supporting processes to enable delivery of the blood sciences concept was presented as an essential requirement to suppliers wishing to tender for the major laboratory equipment procurement to replace existing equipment at the end of life.
  • Exploitation of cost-effective delivery of service based on introduction of state-of-the-art analytical and information technology should result in improved cost profiles, efficiency gains and have an impact on effectiveness, all of which provide opportunities for further investment in service resilience and development.

Problem

The need to transform laboratory services to enable delivery of a service model that addresses current pressures within an evolving healthcare delivery model that is increasingly challenged by rising workloads, that is target driven, that is demand led, and which is resource constrained. There was a need to replace old technology with new analytical and information technology, but the technological solutions with potential to address the drivers for change and pressures require new approaches to delivery and funding because of the cost and complexity of the solutions. Systems have evolved to a level that a significant partnership is required with a global diagnostics partner in order to assemble and develop the necessary infrastructure to capitalise on the latest developments in order to deliver the goals of the NHS Tayside laboratory review.

Aim

To seek a partner in the form of a global diagnostics provider to deliver a tailored managed services solution for blood sciences core workload to enable delivery of the NHS Tayside vision for laboratory diagnostics services.

Action Taken

  • Structured review of services with guidance from NHS Tayside's organisational development teams.
  • Key objectives identified to the acute unit executive management team.
  • Progression of a tendering exercise in which the NHS Tayside vision for laboratory diagnostics were presented to potential vendors who were invited to propose a solution that would enable this to be delivered. We effectively invited the companies to tell us how the most recent advances in analytical and information technologies could be brought together to deliver our goals and address our drivers for change, and deliver our aspiration to deliver a leading edge, world-class service to the population of Tayside.
  • The award was made to Siemens Diagnostics in November of 2011 for delivery of a managed service to include the provision of the APTIO automation system. This is an advanced automation solution that enables integration of seven large biochemistry analysers, four haematology cell counters, two coagulation systems, robotic centrifuges, online sample storage and retrieval, and automated capping and de-capping of specimens all linked by a tracking system.

The system was the second, but largest, system installed in the world and the first in northern Europe. The installation was undertaken as part of Siemens Diagnostics' development programme for this technology with the Ninewells site being one of six global controlled roll-out sites. As a consequence Ninewells is now a global reference site for this technology and has hosted visiting teams from the USA, Singapore, and across Europe.

The system was introduced ahead of commercial launch internationally and continues to be developed against the controlled roll-out programme. In consequence, a very fast pace of initial change took place in the first six months of 2012 with laboratory refurbishments, equipment validation, automation builds, IT builds, staff training and process investigation redesign and implementation. Phase 2 in November of 2012 enabled integration of haematology analysers with the track to deliver a truly integrated multi-discipline automated facility.

Teams from Siemens Heath Care Solutions have worked with NHS Tayside staff to redesign the process to deliver a highly effective and efficient sample reception process that involves Lean process and single piece workflow to manage the workload from primary workflow and secondary care.

Additional services including provision of an onsite engineer and inventory management through a Siemens contracted service were also adopted. The education and training packages provided by Siemens in the form of online, and on and off site hands-on provision have been integrated into the new department's service delivery model.

Results

The analytical systems within blood sciences on the Ninewells site are amongst the most advanced in the world and the second of its type globally while being the first in northern Europe. The managed service contract has enabled delivery of these systems using a cost per test approach that includes the accounts for the capital investment by Siemens in equipment to enable delivery of a facility that addresses the objectives of the NHS Tayside review enabling a focus on reduction of waste, variation, and harm in provision and use of laboratory diagnostics. The service contract with associated VAT savings amounts to approximately £500,000 in year one as assessed against previous costs.

The advanced automation is providing a platform for further transformation in working practices, impacting on skill mix and roles, access to repertoire, workload prioritisation, improvements in turnaround times and potential for new approaches to diagnosis and management of patients.

Workload from primary care has been consolidated onto the Ninewells site enabling a uniformity of same day access to the full repertoire of the laboratory testing for the first time to primary care patients in Perth and Kinross (400 additional requests per day). This is made possible as result of new electronic ordering linked to new Lean sample reception processes.

The systems enable prioritisation of workloads form critical areas through automated routing controlled by IT.

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

The efficiency savings and, more importantly, the effectiveness gains and impacts on downstream process (e.g. impact on flow and capacity in acute receiving wards as a result of delivery of a more comprehensive repertoire of testing within a more uniform and reduced turnaround time) remain to be assessed.

Turnaround times on the system are impressive. 97 per cent of creatinine measurement received by the lab is reported and available electronically to users within two hours (median circa 50 minutes, previous target time would have been 95 per cent in four hours).

Inventory management means that we do not have senior staff unpacking pallets of reagents and rotating stock.

The systems provide the opportunity for cross disciplinary training that will enable more efficient use of HCPC registered staff supported by other staff groupings. The sample inputs are blind to traditional boundaries and as such the workloads will be processed through the various analytical boxes to deliver valid data to terminals that can be manned remotely anywhere in the world. A piece of work is to begin to determine the optimal staffing profile for the facility.

The approach is driving us towards paperless/paper light operation. Specimens received by the laboratory request order electronically are no longer accompanied by paper request forms. The tubes are labelled and barcoded at source. The median time from presentation of a request from the time of receipt acknowledged by the lab to initial processing on the track is circa seven minutes. The track can manage 3,600 samples per hour. Sample inputs and output units process 2,400 samples per hour (differences allow capacity for on track transactions with various modules). The laboratory process 5,500 to 6,000 tubes of blood and urine per day. The capacity of the system greatly exceeds that of previous systems installed thus enabling the take on of additional work from the Perth laboratory and providing capacity for future growth.

Sustainability

The partnership with Siemens is contracted for seven years. We are working closely with the company to capitalise on the potential of the system to improve workflows and increase impact of services. The involvement of the Health Care Solutions services and further development of tools to enable good stewardship of the services with robust contract monitoring and demand management strategies will ensure cost-efficiency and effectiveness of the development.

Lessons Learned

Significant advantages arise from working with providers with shared vision. Developments of this type will enable delivery of systems that allow a refocusing of laboratory medicine professionals on the clinical effectiveness agenda as a consequence of releasing senior staff time to focus on quality and clinical issues and a shift in skills and role development across the professional groups.

The move to latest generation multi-disciplinary platforms and combining of departments is challenging as the transformation challenges many barriers and requires cultural changes to enable maximum benefit of the approach to be realised. This has been a significant challenge and much more work requires to be undertaken at the start of the project to engage all members of the multi-disciplinary team.

The project implementation was fast tracked as and this caused significant operational difficulties which are still being worked through. The implementation would have benefited from dedicated project management support.

The team spent considerable time in negotiation of the managed service contract and the importance of this cannot be understated.

NHS Tayside: Laundry Sleep-knit Project

Background/Context

Increasing costs and pressure on resources/ staff time in both bed making and the laundry processing of sheets was recognised as an issue that should be addressed by NHS Tayside.

Problem

All patient beds were made using traditional non-fitted sheets, requiring lengthy bed making procedures for staff, and a lengthy laundry process involving specialist sheet pressing machinery that was due for replacement due to age.

Aim

To find an effective solution that both improved staff resource requirements, patient experience and enhanced laundry efficiency.

Action Taken

A multi-disciplinary project team was set up to seek out and evaluate potential solutions, and following option appraisal selected the Sleep-knit bedding system. This was based on an assessment of both quality and financial benefits. Whole life cost models were developed to inform the business case, taking into account the costs and associated improvements and demonstrating the payback periods involved.

The new bedding was procured and distributed to wards and patient areas with appropriate training and a specific organisational wide communications exercise.

New laundry drying equipment was procured to support the new bedding system, in place of the obsolete and labour intensive pressing and folding machinery.

Results

Patient feedback on the new bedding has been extremely positive; it has eliminated the 'crumpling' effect that traditional sheets suffered over time. After adapting to the change, staff are reporting reduced time spent on bed making, releasing more time to care for patients. The organisation has benefited financially, and the laundry has been able to enhance productivity without any additional staffing requirement.

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

Efficiency savings of £100,000 per annum were achieved through the introduction of the new system, relating only to direct laundry costs. The programme also led to a cost avoidance of replacing the sheet press laundry equipment.

Sustainability

The transition to the new bedding was supported by staff training, and a phased roll-out across sites to ensure sufficient support was targeted to areas on changeover.

All bedding supplies have now been replaced with the new bedding.

Lessons Learned

The project achieved recognised success with positive feedback from patients and staff.

The diligent work in ensuring effective communication of the change to ward staff and provision of sufficient support during the roll-out of the new products was seen as a key part of the successful implementation, and a lesson for other projects.

NHS Health Scotland: Efficiency Savings made by the Events, Publishing and Web Team for NHS Health Scotland

Background/Context

The events, publishing and web (EPW) team is a team of 30 professionals who are expert in the fields of managing events, producing publications, and web and digital channels and associated procurement.

The EPW team is responsible for designing, delivering and evaluating strategic marketing communications outcomes to support and equip NHS Health Scotland to achieve the ambitions outlined in A Fairer Healthier Scotland. The team works with colleagues from across the organisation to identify tailored communication channels and products for specific target audiences.

Problem

NHS Health Scotland is operating under the constraints of reduced budget and had a 5 per cent efficiency target.

Aim

The EPW team was tasked with maximising cost efficiencies to help NHS Health Scotland achieve its 5 per cent efficiency target. We also had a target of £86,000 efficiency savings made in 2011-12.

Action Taken

Utilising staff's professional expertise to find ways to maximise efficiency savings through the following methods:

  • utilising in-house skills wherever possible to minimise the need to outsource
  • operating within Scottish Government approved procurement frameworks and competitive tenders processes
  • examining the specification/supplier for every project to ensure the most cost-effective solution
  • utilising technology to minimise cost
  • rigorously reviewing stock holding and consolidating in a single warehouse

Results

Overall financial savings of £123,151 achieved.

Efficiency Savings and Productive Gains

Efficiency savings made through:

  • Changing existing supplier to achieve a competitive price. Mainly delivering the same specified print product using a more competitively priced supplier, in some cases a lower price is achieved through using a different size print press. Total saving £33,301.
  • Changing existing specification to reduce costs without negatively impacting overall quality. For example, reducing paper weight, changing format and reducing the cost of print finishes such as varnishes. Total saving £25,847.
  • Consolidating and reviewing stock holding. The number of warehouses used was reduced from three to one and stock was recycled where no longer required. Total saving £20,005.
  • Using technology. Using a free online event registration tool and more effective use of video conferencing. Total saving £15,948.
  • Bringing previously outsourced work in-house. For example, bringing the creative development for the Healthy Working Lives direct mail campaigns in-house; we previously used an agency to develop concepts. Total saving £28,050.

Sustainability

The EPW team will continue to adopt a rigorous approach to delivering projects in the most efficient and effective way possible. We will continue to use Scottish Government established frameworks and seek to maximise cost efficiencies on a project-by-project basis. These changes have been embedded into our standard procedures.

Lessons Learned

The EPW team has a key role to play in questioning and challenging colleagues and partners, where appropriate, to ensure that products and services are specified and developed to be effective and efficient. Sharing examples of cost efficiencies across the organisation helps to share the knowledge of what can be achieved.


Contact

Email: Dayna Askew