Hospital insourcing brings medical teams together to ensure that valuable hospital infrastructure on NHS Trust premises (scanners, treatment rooms and theatres) are used effectively at all times. For example, with extra teams to include additional clinics at evenings and weekends. With record levels of people now on hospital waiting lists, additional options for improved, safe patient care have become very necessary. Patients are being encouraged to 'shop around' and where necessary the NHS is also utilising the private sector.
Cost-effective option for treating more patients
NHS England, NHS Improvement, and the Department of Health and Social Care describe insourcing as:
“Where an NHS organisation subcontracts medical services/procedures. It differs to locum supply in that the full end to end service is provided, not just staff. The supplier uses the NHS organisation’s premises and equipment to deliver these services, however remote consultations are also available.”
In order to accelerate the contracting process a national framework agreement is in place with 'NHS Shared Business Services' for "Insourcing of Clinical Services" currently listing 18 approved companies including medcareworld (formerly known as Gutcare). These companies have already gone through a competitive tendering procedure to be put on the list and can be used by trusts without additional contract tendering.
Due to the the flexibility of this approach and ability to rapidly implement additional services - where needed, popularity of this method has increased over the past few years.
Furthermore, companies such as medcareworld perform services for less than the NHS tariff, often at 20% less. This makes the process of insourcing highly attractive to the trusts, keen to utilise budget constraints.
The popularity of insourcing with trusts also relates to how insourcing falls outside existing mechanisms for regulating staff labour. There is a cap on how much trusts can spend on agency workers and rates can only be increased beyond the cap to fill a shift if there is a patient safety issue, and it may be difficult to show there is an issue for routine elective care procedures.
Insourcing is therefore a more cost-effective option than employing notoriously expensive locums and bank staff.
accessing timely and appropriate treatment
Consultant Gastroenterologist and Medical Director of medcareworld, Dr Prem Premchand says, "It cannot be denied that the UK healthcare system is facing enormous challenges, not least, the struggle that patients experience in accessing timely and appropriate treatment. From my own speciality I know only too well the negative impacts that delays in diagnosis and treatment have on patients. Therefore, it is imperative that we do all we can to reduce and ultimately prevent the delays and bottlenecks that are so detrimental to good clinical outcomes."
Getting best use of hospital facilities