In April, the HSJ published results from a survey completed by CCG Chairs and Accountable Officers. It illustrated a decline in financial confidence, but also revealed several key steps to make savings.
Respondents rated on a 10 point scale how confident they were of their CCG staying within budget for the next year. Of the one hundred respondents, the average was 5, with 23% rating their confidence as either 1 or 2. When asked the same question in April 2014, the average rating was 6.8, representing a 1.8 point decline.
In the same survey, respondents were also asked to identify the steps they perceived as most valuable to making savings. Each respondent could select up to five ‘steps’.
Of the most important steps, three areas are notable for their popularity among respondents: redesigning out-of-hospital services (81%); reducing variation in treatment rates (76%); and significantly reducing hospital activity (64%).
So, what does referral management have to do with this?
One of the key benefits of referral management is that ensures appropriate use of new and existing out-of-hospital services. For CCG leaders looking to redesign existing or implement new out-of-hospital services, having confidence that they can ensure uptake is invaluable.
By taking steps to improve out-of-hospital services, and ensuring uptake, CCGs also make good progress towards reducing hospital activity. It is well documented that referral management services can appropriately reduce out-patient appointments.
Finally, through the use of a referral management centre or Single Point of Access (SPA) commissioners are far better equipped to reduce so-called unwarranted variation. A referral management centre can enable locally agreed guidelines to be applied to each referral, ensuring equal treatment.
Identifying key steps for making savings is a necessary start for CCGs, and leaders should take encouragement that their concerns largely align with one another. What remains now is for CCGs to begin the process of realising these savings.
Source: the HSJ, full article here.