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Healthcare Management

Russell, Healthcare Specialist at Schneider Electric, examines some of the dilemmas currently facing the NHS, and explains how innovative partnerships could save the institu- tion millions of pounds, while revi- talising its potentially unsafe estate and reducing carbon emissions. Launched in 1948 with the aim


of providing good healthcare to all, regardless of wealth, the NHS is the world’s largest publicly funded health service. In the UK people rely on it to improve their health and well-being, to make them better when they are ill and, when they cannot fully recover, to keep them as well as possible to the end of their lives. However, the NHS is currently

dealing with some very tough chal- lenges, in that it needs to become more operationally efficient, improve its estate and make carbon savings. There is a massive amount of work

to do but Schneider Electric believes that by adopting a creative and radical approach to the problem, via partner- ships, a great deal can be achieved. As Andrew Lansley, the Secretary

Colin Russell is Schneider Electric’s country segment manager for healthcare, and leads the company’s healthcare segment for the UK and Ireland. Colin has 25 years’ experience in

sales, operations and management. Most recently he has been heavily involved in PFI (Private Finance Initia- tive) hospitals, where he has built up a wealth of knowledge in healthcare. He holds a Master of Business

Administration (MBA), and is an Associ- ate of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, an Engi- neering Council Incorporated Engineer and a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

of State for Health, said in July 2010: “All those who work on the frontline should be thinking carefully, and imaginatively, about how we can do things differently.” So, let’s consider the dilemmas

facing the NHS – and the solutions that partnerships can deliver. The most significant challenge

facing the NHS is that, as a result of recent budget cuts, it needs to make operational changes to save money and become a more efficient organi- sation.

Historically, NHS’ funding has

increased by six per cent year on year in line with expenditure, enabling the service to just about balance its books. However, as part of the UK Government’s comprehensive spend-

t is no secret that the UK’s Nation- al Health Service (NHS) is in need of drastic reform. Here, Colin

ing review, brought in to reduce the country’s multi-billion pound debt, NHS’ funding has been cut. So, drastic changes are necessary.

In fact, in order to continue delivering sufficient patient care and balance its books, it’s estimated that by 2014, the NHS needs to achieve an unprec- edented efficiency saving of £20 billion. Adding to the challenge, is the

mounting pressure on the service to deliver better quality of care and a more responsive service. Britain has a growing, ageing and unhealthy population – resulting in an increased demand for services thereby putting a huge strain on the NHS resources. People expect to live longer and the NHS often pushes the limits of science to make this possible. The number of people using the

NHS is huge. Currently, it deals with, on an average, one million patients every 36 hours – approximately eight people per second. It is estimated that our population will increase by 10 per cent by 2030 to over 71 million, which will put further pressure on a service which is already struggling. It is recognised that rejuvenating

environments hasten patient recov- ery. Thus arises another problem for the NHS estate which requires ample consideration. It is critical to the patient experience as it can have a direct impact on the health of patients and their physical safety. Section 2(a) of the NHS Constitu-

tion says the NHS commits to ensure that services are provided in a clean and safe environment that is fit for purpose, based on national best practice – but whether this can be said of some of the buildings in use is debatable. The main problem is the age of

the estate’s buildings. In recent years, over 100 new hospitals have been built with the help of Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs), but these modern buildings are a minority. 11

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