Thursday, 20 December 2012

How to reduce NHS procurement costs with a Smartie & a click

Yesterday I suggested a comparatively easy approach to reducing NHS prescription costs through placing an electronic gateway, which required merely the click of a GPs mouse, to affirm that, in their opinion, the prescription being issued was not a waste of money. I also suggested a wider trial of embedding such an affirmation more widely into P2P workflows.

Today I have learnt of further research which suggest that sleeping tablets frequently are no more effective than a ‘Smartie’ (well a placebo – I’m sure you get the drift). That’s not to say that the issue of prescriptions for sleeping tablets should be replaced by ‘Smarties’ (or other equal and approved equivalent). No, what I would suggest is, given that sleeping problems are rarely serious, why not first explore the lower cost and lower adverse impact option, and only if the ‘Smarties’ (or other equal and approved equivalent) fail to be effective, progress to trying traditional sleeping tablets.

Surely GPs should be completing yesterday’s and today’s evaluations  anyway, even though the evidence of the two research reports casts some doubt. Therefore why not introduce the ‘affirmative  click’?

So I would extend my proposal from yesterday to include a further affirmative statement:

I confirm I have thoroughly considered and evaluated other potentially lower cost options.

Like yesterday, I think this additional affirmative statement could also be trialled in P2P workflows to see if it proved worthwhile in more general purchasing beyond the NHS.

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