Addressing Efficiency in the NHS

Maintaining the highest standards of quality and hygiene is at the forefront of the Healthcare Industry, a universal goal that does not differ between cultures, countries and governements. An analysis of this industry will highlight its fast-paced nature and emphasize the need for constant vigilance regarding potential threats. Whilst there is a comprehensive list of external factors that can shape the industry, the need for innovation and quality standards from within is just as important.

In an era of reduced budgets/staff, greater individual workloads and an increasing demand for results, public health services are finding themselves under intense scrutiny and pressure. The UK and its Public Health System (The NHS) is world-renowned and consistently ranked amongst the top 20 Public Health Systems in the world (US News, 2017). However, a 2016 report by Lord Carter of Coles outlined a number of challenges the NHS faced and the potential avenues they could explore to address these challenges.

A reoccurring theme throughout this extensive report this one of “efficiency”, the word alone being used more than 100 times (Crown Independent Publications, 2016). Efficiency amongst tasks such as stock inventory, minimising instrument downtime and the turnaround of potentially unsterile equipment such as IV Lines and Cannulas are of a few subjects raised. This need for efficiency may be partly due to the UK’s growing and ageing popultion. The number of people in the UK is set to reach 74 million by 2039, with 18% of the current population being aged 65 or older (ONS, 2017).

The report in question however, has one major flaw in failing to identify any obvious and meaningful solutions to the problem. The elementary issue raised by the report is this; “How do you do more with less and adapt within an evolving healthcare system?” (Lab News, 2017). The UWI Label is certainly a way of enhancing process efficiency within the NHS and other Public Health Systems;

  • Can help to reduce risk by ensuring products are used within their optimal period, and that unsterile products are replaced immediately.
  • Can help improve stock management by reducing waste and ensuring products are used at their best.
  • Can help to reduce overall costs through the above benefits, as well as leading to shorter patient stays due to more effective treatments.
  • Can help to provide more effective and consitent treatments for patients, with the view to reducing the amount of visits individuals have to make to their local GP and Hospitals.

The UWI Label is a solution that staff can use in tandem with current processes to try and achieve the efficiency levels that Public Health Systems like the NHS are desperately looking for.

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