How do you speed up the NHS?

Our National Health Service is renowned for many a great achievement, but rapid process change, unfortunately, isn’t one of them.

Jonathan Lofthouse, Director of Improvement at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, reveals how he and his team has successfully delivered a number of transformative projects, in a matter of weeks.

Using an eight-point framework, Aintree has illustrated how it is possible to work at pace, invest a lot of money and see strong payback. We applied these eight principles to a recent outpatient improvement project at Aintree, where we went from purchase to installation within just 10 weeks. This technical purchase will pay for itself within four months of go-live and will save £1.3m per year, which is nearly six times its investment price.

Aintree’s eight-point framework:

  • Business cases should always clearly articulate payback.
  • Business cases are reviewed on a monthly cycle, as well as annual – the longest Aintree waits for a business decision is 4.5 weeks, as opposed to months and months.
  • Increased financial authority – as Director of Improvement I have authorisation rights to £250,000, without reference to another individual.
  • Stipulate that every one of our commercial relationships is a partnership – it is never just a transaction.
  • Are very robust on the use of technical stage gates for delivery – so this very clearly motivates suppliers to deliver on pace.
  • Allocate a named senior responsible office and a named trust project manager for every single commercial partnership.
  • Purchase the very best we can afford.
  • Apply a robust application of procurement frameworks to all projects.