Hospital staff and unions today criticised managers at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals for taking on an “efficiency” consultant to help them achieve financial savings.
Steve Leivers, who is Director of Transformation at Aintree, has joined Lancashire Teaching Hospitals for six months to help them achieve their £21 million efficiency target. It has not been disclosed how much he will be paid for this period.
Workers and unions have however blasted the move and have branded it a waste of money. They assert that any further cuts will adversely affect patient care, and that spending more money on further employment in order to specify areas to target cuts to was counter-productive. They voiced their concerns that the role of efficiency directives should be the responsibility of their current managers and directors to find the most efficient ways of working and provide value for money.
George Dixon, central Lancashire Branch Secretary for UNISON, said that the move to appoint a specialist to make further savings indicates that management resources have been dramatically cut. “We have just been reported as being in the bottom 20 of hospital trusts by the Care Quality Commission when it comes to patient care. Further cuts will impact on staff’s ability to deliver patient care” he stated.
Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that the appointment of Mr Leivers as Director of Transformation is hoped to support them in achieving their efficiency target by 2012. He will collaborate with staff to review processes and working practices to identify more effective ways of delivering services.
Ms Partington said that Mr Leivers has a track record of delivering sustainable financial balance in challenging situations, and has previously supported other organisations to make significant savings. Mr Leivers is currently leading a £35m trust wide clinical transformation programme at Aintree.
Despite the best intentions of NHS Managers attempting to target areas for efficiency savings, Trusts may find that they could achieve better results by providing Heads of Service with the right tools to do their jobs. Trusts could seek to implement an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system such as Therapy Manager, which provides managers with a robust suite of tools to enable on-demand monitoring of key performance measures. The system can report on the Costs of Care and where they are incurred, ensuring managers are supported in clinical decision making which could potentially reduce the financial costs incurred in patient care.