Sir Bruce Keogh, the UK’s most senior doctor, has claimed that thousands of hospital operations are unnecessary and that the NHS has a “profligate” attitude to its finances with billions of pounds being wasted.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, NHS England’s medical director said that approximately one in seven surgical treatments were not actually needed and that the NHS should be able to admit that this was the reality.
Sir Bruce said: “We know a substantial proportion of expenditure in our healthcare system and in other Western healthcare systems – 10 to 15 percent – is due to overuse of treatment.
“We also have a massive duty to look into all our organisations and to look into the waste. The waste is profligate in our system. I don’t think we should be ashamed of pointing that out and certainly we shouldn’t be ashamed of dealing with it.
“Historically, doctors and to a lesser extent nurses have felt that the money is someone else’s problem… I think we need to collectively challenge that because we are in a tax-funded system which does as well as our economy does and when the economy sneezes the NHS catches a cold – and at the moment the money is relatively stagnant for the foreseeable future.”
The successful applicants to a scheme designed to make evidenced healthcare innovations more widely available to patients were announced today (Monday 6 July) by NHS England’s Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh.
The scheme will see 17 healthcare pioneers from the UK and abroad receive national support to roll out their technologies, processes and models of care to patients, hospitals and GP practices throughout England. This support includes mentorship from seasoned innovators such as Lord Ara Darzi, a bursary, and support through the Academic Health Science Networks.
It is envisaged that the innovations will help to prevent diseases, speed up diagnosis, improve safety and efficiency of services and increase patient participation in decision making, self-management and research.
“The NHS stands on the cusp of a revolution in innovation”, said Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s National Medical Director. “At its heart, innovation is the will to better, to find solutions for existing needs or new problems through more effective products, processes, technology or even the way we deliver services. Today we increase the opportunity for improving patient care by creating new conditions for ideas to thrive.”
Ultimately, a more sustainable NHS with better health outcomes for all is the aim of the NHS England scheme.
Full details of each the fellows and their innovations can be accessed on the NHS England website.