Department of Health appoint Professor Tim Briggs as National Director for Clinical Quality and Efficiency

21st October 2015
Department of Health

The appointment is part of Lord Carter’s review into how savings can be made by the NHS, which aims to help local NHS chief executives make their hospitals safer and more efficient at the same time.

The Department of Health have announced that for the first time all NHS hospital activity has been reviewed together and categorised by clinical speciality. The results show huge variations in clinical costs, infection rates, readmission rates, litigation payments and device and procedure selection. The review has highlighted the huge opportunity for hospitals to tackle these variations.

“Hospitals can save around £5 billion by reducing variation in care and improving the way they care for patients.” Lord Carter

137 NHS acute hospital trusts (non-specialist) in England have received detailed plans that show how and where they can improve patient care and become more efficient. The £5 billion worth of savings has been broken down by speciality. The top 12 specialties are:

Specialty Potential saving (£ million)
General medicine 381
Obstetrics and gynaecology 362
Trauma and orthopaedics 286
Pathology 256
Cancer services 255
Emergency medicine 254
General surgery 234
Community nursing 217
High cost drugs 213
Paediatrics 209
Intensive and critical care 209
Cardiology 184

Lord Carter said:

“Our best hospitals offer patients an excellent service and they are up there with the very best in the world and we want to make sure all NHS hospitals meet these high standards of care. The route to better care is to empower NHS leaders, so giving them the data and support they need means they can improve how they care for patients make savings which can be reinvested in frontline care. Patients will be the real winners.”

Professor Tim Briggs, National Director for Clinical Quality and Efficiency said:

“During my 33 years in the NHS, 24 as a consultant, I have seen some outstanding practice, however whilst delivering a national review of elective orthopaedics, as the President of the British Orthopaedic Association, I visited 211 hospitals across the NHS and found some areas of unwanted variation in practice, leading to unsatisfactory outcomes.  In light of the financial austerity the NHS faces, we have a duty to make sure that we reduce unwanted variation and complications, in order that our resources can provide patients with the high quality care they require.  I have now been tasked with implementing the solutions to drive up quality in orthopaedics, and lead the same methodology and approach across a further ten specialities in my capacity as The National Director of Clinical Quality and Efficiency.  The clinicians and Royal Colleges have been very supportive of this approach.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“I want to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, providing excellent care every day of the week, powered by a culture of learning and continuous improvement. We’re giving the service £10 billion extra during this Parliament, and it is vital to use that money to secure the best outcomes. So I’m grateful to Lord Carter, his team and those trusts that have worked to identify ways in which hospitals can become more efficient precisely by doing the right thing by patients.”

Please see the full press statement from the Department of Health here.