A project by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) to make blood testing for chronic conditions more efficient has saved the NHS nearly £300,000 and been shortlisted for two national awards.
The CCG’s Clinical Effectiveness Team worked with GPs, hospital specialists and patients to develop a way to standardise blood testing and cut out unnecessary tests.
People with long term conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension require regular blood tests as part of the management of their conditions. Each sample of blood can require numerous tests for different issues.
The team discovered that there were inconsistencies in the ways blood was tested across BNSSG’s 83 GP practices and that some of the tests were not needed.
Working with GPs and practice nurses, hospital specialists and patients, the team reviewed ways to make the testing more efficient. The result is a new standardised test which was introduced last year which has led to a 5% reduction in the number of blood tests for chronic disease monitoring equating to 92,455 fewer blood tests and a saving of £295,000.
The project has now been shortlisted for both the HSJ Value Award of the Year and the Community Service Redesign Initiative Award by the Health Services Journal (HSJ).
Adwoa Webber, Head of Clinical Effectiveness at BNSSSG CCG, said: “Over-testing takes up patient’s time for further tests and appointments which are often unnecessary. It also increases staff-workload in the laboratories and creates additional work for clinicians reviewing the results. It also
“We found there was a lot of variation in the type of blood tests across our GP practices requested for chronic disease monitoring so we standardised the tests by working with local GPs, a practice nurse and biochemists from our three hospitals to design this important area of care.”
The change of working was inspired by a similar scheme run by CCGs in North Devon and Swindon who shared their experience with the BNSSG team.
Adwoa added: “We’re excited by what we’ve achieved so far and what we have learned along the way, including further improvement opportunities. It’s also very gratifying to have the work recognised by a shortlist with the HSJ.”