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Our very own Olympian challenge

Our very own “Olympian” challenge - to continue to deliver services that are safe and of the highest quality within the resources we have available!

We have had a wonderful two weeks, watching Olympians facing the most amazing challenges and overcoming them to achieve greatness. 

Soon the Paralympics will start and will no doubt prove equally inspiring, given the hurdles and special difficulties that contestants have had to overcome to become the best of the best in their sports.

We are very proud of Team GB.  We also remain proud to be part of Team NHS and Team Liverpool Women’s.

Here at Liverpool Women’s and in the NHS generally, we are facing much more down-to-earth and less glamorous challenges - but essential for the sustainable future of the service.

Like everyone in the NHS and public services, our challenge is to deliver quality and cost improvements and protect jobs wherever possible.

Both quality of clinical services and financial stability are equally important.  One without the other is not an option.

“Efficiency without quality is unthinkable, but quality without efficiency is unsustainable”.  

It is important to understand why we at Liverpool Women’s and every other NHS organisation are having to do this.

The Government has ring fenced funding for the NHS but it has also identified that the NHS needs to save £20billion to meet increasing costs (this was the same amount identified by the Labour government).  That figure represents a saving of 20% on the total NHS budget.

These savings were necessary because NHS costs increase year on year due to inflation.  The savings are also necessary as the demands on the NHS increase every year with new drugs, new treatments and the impact of an ageing population.

All hospitals are having to make savings. This is being implemented through reducing the money they receive for each patient treated each year.

In the last three years, our Trust has had to deliver £15m through cost savings. We will have to achieve a further £5m in 2013/14 and another £5m in 2014/15.

Our clinical divisions have already helped to bring about the savings we have achieved so far.  Our corporate support services have also made a significant contribution to savings by doing things differently.  This sets the tone for what comes next.  Any future cost saving will be about redesigning the way we deliver services and receive services from other organisations.  At the same time, our desire and commitment to protecting front line services is fundamental.

These are tough times for the NHS. We have a responsibility to ensure we are as efficient and effective as possible to protect services for our patients.  Clearly after several years of cost saving already, the scope for reduction lessens.  That is why we need to start to think wider and more creatively about working differently.

You might wonder if cost improvement on the scale we face will impact on the quality of the services we provide. But I can reassure you that ensuring that we deliver safe and high quality services for all our patients remains paramount.   I am so proud of how - even when it has been difficult personally sometimes - every single member of our workforce has continued to deliver high quality care to women, babies and families.

I can assure you that every cost improvement scheme proposed will be assessed before implementation in terms of its impact on patients and the quality and safety of the services they are receiving.

by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive

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