Nurses at the trust which runs the Royal Lancaster Infirmary have delivered more than £150,000 in savings in the last 15 months by identifying nursing products and equipment that are both the best quality for patients and provide the best value for money to taxpayers.
The team of nurses from across the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust have been actively engaged in what the trust orders for its wards as part of the nursing supplies group.
This group works alongside the trust’s procurement team to ensure that nursing products bought to deliver patient care are of the highest quality and that the same products are used across the trust wherever possible to make it easier for staff and more efficient.
Their hard work has led to more than £150,000 of savings which included more than £55,000 saved by purchasing alternative non-sterile examination gloves – used when examining or treating patients – and more than £33,000 saved on purchasing alternative Intravenous dressings.
To help highlight to all nursing staff the cost of the various pieces of equipment they use, the trust is also trialing red, amber and green stickers on ward 35 at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
The stickers aim to provide nurses with a reminder that when choosing a product, it is important to use the most suitable one – both in terms of the needs of the patient and the associated cost.
For example if a nurse needs a standard intravenous giving set, the one with the green sticker is significantly less expensive and will do the job well, when compared with the very expensive red one which is for use in a limited number of specific uses.
Sue Smith, the trust’s executive chief nurse, said: “Lord Carter recently reported that the NHS in England could save £5bn a year through improved staff organisation and a better approach to purchasing.
“This isn’t about us not stocking certain products. It’s about looking at what we do stock and seeing whether there are other products available on the market that offer the same quality and benefits but at a more cost effective price.
“By taking a trust-wide approach to ordering and procuring, the nursing supplies group not only ensures the clinical effectiveness of the medical products we purchase so our products are high quality and safe for our patients but it also saves the trust money that can then be reinvested into patient care.
“The Department of Health attended our recent nursing supplies group meeting to observe how the group works. The purpose of the visit was part of the Departments of Health’s efforts to identify and replicate good practice throughout the NHS.”