August 19, 2019

Unnecessary Variation

As part of our ‘What If’ series on change in the NHS, we spoke to Programme Manager Luke O’Byrne and asked him: “Putting all politics aside, if you could change one thing about the NHS, what would it be?”

If I could change one thing…

About the NHS it would be its lack of consistency.

I spend time in a lot of different organisations and there are significant variations in practice that can mean less than optimal clinical care for patients, as well as additional unnecessary expense.

One example of this is that in some areas people are given injections of an anticoagulant after an operation and in others they are given oral medication. If a person is unable to do their own injections, a community nurse may be required to do this (with all the additional expense of multiple visits). In some areas, this is sorted out following discussions with surgical teams. In others, the much pressured community nurses struggle on. And elsewhere, it is sorted out for some patients but not as a protocol for everybody.

This lack of consistency is different in other sectors where unnecessary variation is recognised as the enemy and considerable effort is made to standardize systems and processes.

While I understand that all patients are different and that we do not want to stifle individual clinician’s freedom to act and innovate, the important thing is to reduce the unnecessary variation.

As a patient, I want the best possible treatment and as a taxpayer I want to ensure that a pressured NHS budget is spent as effectively and efficiently as possible.

About Luke

Luke has a broad range of experience in Strategy, Nursing, Operations and Governance roles in CCGs and Trusts, as well as senior experience from CSU, Education, Council and SHA environments. He specialises in developing community-based services, improving clinical and wider governance systems and working in partnership to deliver sustainable

About Practicus

Practicus provides problem solving and recruitment. To find out more about the company, see here

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