King’s Fund summary calls for focus on better value, not cost reduction

Productivity in the NHSA clear summary from the King’s Fund published this month outlines the findings from their “Better value in the NHS” full report. Responding to the recent call for £22 billion efficiency savings, it highlights the key point that: “focusing on the monetary value of the challenge risks missing the real essence of the task… which is about getting better value from the NHS budget.”

Thinking about how to provide best possible care in the most efficient way is less of a turn-off than the usual narrative of NHS budget constraints. Most healthcare professionals are sick as a parrot of news about cuts and deficits, but The King’s Fund describe three areas where the NHS has already been successful in promoting efficiency: generic prescribing, length of hospital stay and day-case surgery.

The King’s Fund have rightly noticed that framing the challenge in terms of improving value rather than reducing costs is much more likely to engage clinicians in thinking about how to do this, which ultimately is probably the only way that meaningful and beneficial change will happen.

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