Hospitals to get individual savings targets

Lord Carter will meet trust chief executives to detail £5 billion-a-year efficiency drive

Hospitals will be given individual savings targets and could even build their own care homes as part of a government drive to reduce costs.

Lord Carter, the Labour peer charged with leading the biggest ever push for efficiency savings in the NHS, is planning six weeks of meetings with trust chief executives to discuss new budget plans.

He believes the health service could save up to £5 billion a year by 2020 through measures such as better procurement of supplies and tighter control of staff rosters.

Lord Carter has been advising health secretary Jeremy Hunt on ways the health service can claw back some of its £2 billion deficit.

In June he published a draft version of his model hospital report. Ahead of its full release, he told the BBC he will be visiting hospitals and speaking to trust bosses about their savings targets.

A focus of Lord Carter's investigations has been the variation in levels of care, identified by the new NHS England national director of quality and clinical efficiency Tim Briggs and the Care Quality Commission.

Professor Briggs believes that if hospitals all adopted best practice for surgical procedures and treatments, considerable amounts could be saved – as much as £200m a year on orthopaedic surgery alone.

To address problems due to delayed discharge, Lord Carter is likely to recommend hospitals build their own social care facilities or pay for patients to stay in private care homes.

His productivity in hospitals report is due to be published this autumn.

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