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Jeremy Hunt backs report lamenting cash wasted in NHS

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Jeremy Hunt has endorsed a report that concluded the NHS is wasting money on poor care.

The Health Secretary said the service could “improve care and eliminate waste at the same time” by reducing the variation in treatment between hospitals.

The report - by top surgeon Tim Briggs - said there were big differences in the cost and quality of treatments and not enough sharing of best practise for better care across the service.

He insisted the NHS could save millions and possibly billions a year if every trust in the country adopted the best and most efficient methods.

And controversially he said hospitals do not “deserve more money until we put our house in order” by implementing the best care most efficiently.

Urging hospitals to adopt the findings, Mr Hunt said: “By reducing variation we can improve care and eliminate waste at the same time.

“As this excellent work led by Professor Tim Briggs shows, some hospitals are already working smarter with their money to save time and get better outcomes.”

The report today focuses on general surgery and is part of a huge project considering 34 specialisms covering 90% of activity in hospitals.

It found some hospitals were paying 350 times more than others for basic surgical equipment, while more than 300,000 patients a year are admitted to emergency surgery beds despite not needing an operation.

And it found some hospitals kept bowel cancer patients in for ten days after surgery at a cost of £23m a year, while others sent them home after five.

Professor Briggs told the Times: “I’ve now been to every single trust in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and there is significant waste out there...

“I do not think at the moment we deserve more money until we put our house in order and we actually make the changes that will improve the quality of care.”

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