Stories of our impact

In the NHS we trust

The difficulties facing the NHS are well known: caring for an aging UK population with limited financial resources. In February 2016, the largest NHS Trust in the country, Barts Health, was facing a combination of losses of £200 million and care quality issues. The new management team at the Trust, which employs 16,000 people across east London, turned to Deloitte to work with them to put in place an improvement programme spanning financial recovery, workforce and clinical improvement, and governance. Here’s how we helped them reduce costs and improve morale.

Planning to save money

When the regulator set the Trust an ambitious target of reducing its underlying loss position of £200 million to a deficit control total of £83 million in one year, our cross-service-line team needed to make a significant impact across almost every aspect of the organisation, from efficiencies in operating theatres to staff planning rosters.

We spotted that hospital ward managers often had years of excellent clinical experience but limited formal management training to plan staff shifts effectively. Working alongside the Trust personnel, we developed and delivered two popular training packages covering ward management, rostering, budgets and financial efficiency. This training has since had a significant effect on the Trust, staff and patients.

Better numbers, happier staff

In the one-month pilot alone, the Trust reduced temporary staff costs across 12 wards by 25 per cent, and the savings across all 140 wards could be in excess of £10 million per year. With a better understanding of budgets, ward managers told us they felt more empowered to manage their financial positions, leading to increased accountability at lower levels within the organisation and greater financial control. Critically, relying less on temporary staff has helped significantly with the team's morale: Barts’ 2016 staff survey showed boosts in 27 of 33 areas - the most improved in the country.

The programme has seen an improvement in the underlying loss position from £200 million to £130 million within 12 months, and a reported end-of-year deficit position of £69 million - £14 million better than the target set. This achievement has been recognised by the NHS and the regulator as one of the most successful outcomes in the sector. This is a strong milestone in securing the long-term sustainability of an organisation that’s depended on by 2.5 million people for their health and social care.