Doctors suggest ways to save the NHS £20bn

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 16 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7239
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

Leading clinicians have pooled their thoughts on how the NHS can start to save billions of pounds.

Their ideas, some of them controversial, are set out in a report published by the NHS Confederation on 15 December to help the government deliver £20bn (€23.4bn; $31.7bn) efficiency savings.

Top neurosurgeons say the rules that mean costly surgical instruments are used just once to avert Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) infections are not justified by evidence and should be scrapped.

They also question whether spinal implants, costing up to £10 000 are “necessary at all” and claim the European Working Time Directive is a “major cause of waste and chaotic practices” restricting consultants’ availability for daytime work.

Other remedies proposed by clinicians that could apply to the NHS as a whole include: cutting out unnecessary procedures; reducing variations in practice; discharging patients more quickly from hospital care; more effective referrals to specialists from GPs; more efficient use of operating theatres; and best practice use of multidisciplinary …

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