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Collaborative approach helps Nottingham University Hospitals improve safety and save £630k

Monday 19 October 2015

While provision of high quality, responsive and well led care is at the heart of the ethos at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, it needs to be achieved in a financially sustainable way.

Working with NHS Supply Chain, David Newton, Matron in the Clinical Procurement Team delivered three major projects that demonstrated how the trust is achieving this difficult balance of priorities:

  • Infusion pumps – adopted new technology to improve patient safety and deliver significant savings
  • Film dressings – moved to lower cost comparable products that were clinically acceptable
  • Syringes and needles – tackled the issue of needle stick injuries by adopting safer devices without creating a major cost pressure for the trust.   

“For us the important thing is a smooth journey for the patient. These projects are about doing things better, they need to deliver patient and staff safety first above anything else.”

David Newton
Matron, Clinical Procurement Team
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Infusion pumps

£352,000 savings (annualised) were achieved along with securing 300 extra machines for the trust with a volume commitment agreement achieved through a mini competition run by NHS Supply Chain.  In addition to the savings, the deal enabled them to adopt the latest technology which improved patient safety with an in-built drug library that could only be signed off by the trust board.

Film dressings

Taking just four weeks, the trust moved to a lower cost comparable film dressing for intravenous cannula, sourced from an SME via NHS Supply Chain which enabled them to save £70,000 (annualised).

David took a more observational approach to the product trials phase of this project which took more time initially but increased clinical buy-in and speeded up transition to the new products in the implementation stage.

“These new IV cannula dressings are so similar to the well-known older ones that not one of my colleagues in ED has commented on them as being different. They are using them with absolutely no problems at all and we’re saving 50% of our spend as well!”

Jo Chiarella
Emergency Department Practitioner
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Syringes and needles

This project reduced incidents of hollow bore needle stick injury whilst avoiding £180,000 in additional costs by adopting blunt fill needles for drawing up and mixing of IV medicines instead of hypodermic needles. In addition, this approach has reduced needle wastage by 10%, especially for the high viscosity drugs.

Key learnings

  • Secure board level sponsorship where projects have an impact on patient safety
  • Plan in more time for observational approaches when trialling products, as this helps achieve greater buy in from nurses and clinicians
  • When proposing change, always consider the benefits to end users and their patients before anything else.

Download the full case study for full conclusion and learnings

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