Case studies

Reducing the echocardiology backlog with Insourcing


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing pressures on NHS waiting lists, with millions of patients now waiting to start treatment. NHS trusts, CCGs and now their successors ICSs have started to explore insourcing models as a way of managing the backlog.

Insourcing is a term used to describe a range of services which might be contracted for, provided and deployed in support of existing in-house provision. Insourcing services can be used in support of the rapid expansion of in-house capacity in response to the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic and the NHS recovery programme.

As a result of the pandemic, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) had a significant backlog of patients awaiting an electrocardiogram procedure, which they were under pressure to reduce as quickly and safely as possible. They also required support in reducing their off framework spend.

The solution

NNUH worked collaboratively with the East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub, their local NHS Workforce Alliance partner, to identify capable suppliers under the NHS Workforce Alliance Insourced services to support the provision of Healthcare (RM6276) framework.

NNUH’s work with the Alliance also included drafting bespoke Call Off contracts, including service specific KPIs to ensure they were getting the most out of their contract.

The results

After engaging with the Alliance’s Insourcing framework, NNUH were able to reduce the backlog of outpatients waiting for clinical procedures safely and quickly, whilst remaining on framework.

Through the use of an insourcing model, NNUH were ensured consistent standards with regards to the delivery of these services, with increased visibility of the patient pathway and greater resilience of local services.

NNUH and the Alliance continue to work together to monitor the backlog, with ongoing future planning for any potential surges in demand, as well as other services and departments under pressure within the Trust.

Krystal Foley, Acting Deputy Director or Operations - Medicine, commented:

“As a collaborative team and in partnership with the East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub and the NHS Workforce Alliance, the Trust has been able to source an insourcing provider, standardise charge rates and reduce off-framework spend. This has supported the Trust to deliver backlog clearance and recovery of a service within a viable financial envelope, as well as improved quality of service.”

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