Introduction Pressures on the National Health Service require improvement in quality of care on a reducing budget. Acute trusts spend £6 billion on procurement, an area highlighted in the Carter Report with the potential for up to £2 billion in efficiency savings. Meanwhile, cost awareness of products among clinicians is poor.
Case study A survey of 20 ENT (ear, nose and throat) theatre doctors and nurses was carried out in a North West district general hospital to gauge the level of cost awareness in 2011. This was followed by a 2-month period of price labelling of selected products. A follow-up survey in 2017 looked at any sustained effect of awareness.
Results While individual product prices were not recalled, awareness of price differences and specific expensive items was sustained in 75% of respondents, with influence on product choice also dependent on evidence base and clinical outcome. The remaining 25% included new staff employed post initial survey in 2011.
Conclusion A combination of price labelling with education and a clinical evidence base has potential for efficiency savings. Clinicians willingly participate in product selection when shown that change will lower cost and leave patient outcome unaffected or improved.
- cost awareness
- healthcare costs
- medical leadership
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Contributors TSB planned, conducted and reported the work described in the article. NC acted as supervisor and advisor to the research project and contributed to text relating to the policy content.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Research and Development, on behalf of the Trust, has reviewed the documentation, raises no objections to the study and confirms that this is a service improvement project and therefore does not require ethics committee approval.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement All data are provided in full within the case study section of this paper.
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