A US healthcare corporation is being brought in to support five NHS hospital trusts in improving quality and clinical engagement.
Earlier today the health secretary announced a five-year, £12.5m programme to bring in Virginia Mason to five hospital trusts with a combined turnover of more than £2bn.
The trusts are:
- Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust
- Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust
- Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals
- University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire
Virginia Mason are being paid £9m by the Department of Health, with a further £3.5m set aside to cover costs such as airfares and managing the project.
The programme will see visits from Virginia Mason staff and the training of some staff at each trust on the Seattle based company’s methods and principles.
The tender document for the work (attached, right) said each of the five trusts would receive “five days of provider time to use in [each of] the first two years”.
The document added: “The provider will work with the chosen trusts to identify two to four people in each organisation to act as leaders. The exact number will depend on the size and complexity of the trust.”
The work will be heavily focussed on clinical engagement and cultur, and each trust will be expected to establish a “transformation team and board to oversee its work within the programme”.
The DH said the NHS would be “assisted” by tools developed by Virginia Mason, including the Patient Safety Alert System, which authorises any of the organisation’s 6,000 employees “regardless of their job… to file a safety alert any time he or she suspects a potential or real hazard”.
Virginia Mason has also developed electronic dashboards to remind clinicians of specific issues – for example, to undertake a quality review for every critical care patient.
Jeremy Hunt said in a statement: “I want to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, powered by a culture of learning and continuous improvement.
“The achievements at Virginia Mason over the past decade are truly inspirational and I’m delighted they will now help NHS staff to learn the lessons that made their hospital one of the safest in the world – patients will see real benefits as a result.”
Virginia Mason chair and chief executive Gary Kaplan said the firm was “honoured” to share “what we have learned about transforming health care and putting patients’ interests first” with the NHS.
Two of the trusts chosen, University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, and Barking, Havering and Redbridge, have significant private finance initiative deals.
A spokeswoman for the NHS Trust Development Authority, which will be managing the project, said the five trusts were chosen from 36 that applied, and were selected because they had a workforce and board committed to making significant cultural change.
Bob Alexander, acting chief executive of the authority, said: “Virginia Mason have demonstrated over the last decade that by getting the quality of care right for each patient this improves productivity and reduces cost through reducing waste.
“Through this partnership, five NHS trusts will eliminate waste and concentrate on the things that add real value for patients and staff, leading to better, safer, more efficient care,” he added.