Health and social care commissioners potentially sitting on £190 million of ‘pain-free’ savings

Up to £190 million of savings could potentially be made to the UK’s health and social care costs without compromising services to service users, according to a leading firm of consultants.

Andrew MacGlashan
Andrew MacGlashan
Andrew MacGlashan

Commercial & Clinical Solutions LLP has worked with over 20 local authorities and health trusts since 2008 to achieve repeat savings of £7m per year on the fees paid to providers of services to adults and children with a physical or learning disability or complex conditions.

Partners at the firm have calculated that based on current levels of budget expenditure, commissioners of such services could achieve annual savings of around £190 million nationally, without cutting services or affecting outcomes for those in need of health and social care.

Andrew MacGlashan, Managing Partner (Operations) at Commercial & Clinical Solutions said: “We have sat down with commissioners and providers across a range of areas to scrutinise and review the fees that are being charged for placements, some of which have gone unchallenged for a very long time. We believe that if the £7m worth of savings we have achieved across approximately 20 local authorities and health trusts could be replicated on a national scale, commissioners could save around 1.57% of the estimated £12.1bn spent on commissioned services every year – an amount in the region of £190m.

“Long standing out-of-area placements are just one instance where commissioners are incurring particularly high costs. Sometimes the fees involved are justified because the quality and type of provision that a particular individual needs is not available locally, but this is not always the case, particularly where conditions have stabilised or services have become available closer to home.

“We believe that if commissioners had the skills and confidence to really understand what services are needed in their area and what those services should reasonably cost, there is a ‘pain free’ opportunity to make their budgets go further and benefit more people.

“Not only that but there is a real potential for them to create a more long term sustainable marketplace on their doorstep with a choice of good quality, competitively priced service providers. This represents a major challenge for both local authority commissioners and for the GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups but we have proved it can be done.”

Mr MacGlashan, cited one example where Commercial and Clinical Solutions were requested to assess a service, only to find that there was a clear disconnect between the care provider’s service delivery and the clients’ needs. “We were able to work with that local authority to help it reduce the gross costs of seven placements by over £250,000 whilst supporting the provider in re-shaping its offering in a positive way” he said.

He added: “This isn’t about simple cost-cutting but developing a more informed and sustainable approach to managing the market where commissioning bodies actively help to shape, rather than merely procure, the services needed in their communities.”

The estimated figure of £190 million is based on the following known figures and assumptions:

  1. £7m saved so far on annual basis through CCS work with local authorities and NHS Trusts where average savings of 1.57% have been achieved on commissioning budgets.
  2. Approximately 60% of local authority social care budgets and 100% of NHS budgets spent on commissioned services.
  3. Local authority social care spend = £13.3bn and NHS social care spend = £4.18bn in 2011/12.

Established in 2008, Commercial & Clinical Solutions LLP (CCS) (www.ccslimited.org.uk) is a recognised partner in the Health and Social Care arena. Solutions focused, we combine commercial skills with clinical and professional expertise. Our team includes experts with experience at senior and executive level, from both the public and private (for profit and not for profit) sectors. Working in partnership with Health and Social Care commissioning organisations and providers across the UK, we are a problem solving organisation with an established reputation for delivering measurable and sustainable outcomes for our partners whatever the project brief may be. Our unique blend of skills enables us to combine diverse views, challenging established norms where required, adding immediate and future value.

Andrew MacGlashan
Andrew has over 20 years’ experience as a senior manager in the NHS, with posts in Strategic Health Authorities, primary care health commissioning agencies, and NHS provider organisations.

He has also spent 4 years as Manager of private health and social care organisations and 3 years working as a Consultant to NHS organisations, private sector providers and Councils Lead as the lead Partner in Commercial and Clinical Solutions LLP.