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€650k contract for consultancy firm under ‘patient flow’ initiative

MI recently reported that the HSE discontinued the Irish Hospital Redesign Programme (IHRP), which was implemented in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, in favour of a new initiative titled the National Patient Flow Improvement Programme (NPFIP).

The final report from the IHRP criticised this decision on the basis that the new programme represented a “duplication of effort and waste of resources in terms of personnel and time”.

The new three-year programme has been designed as a ‘proof of concept’ exercise to test and assess the application of operations management science to healthcare, initially across two sites (University Hospital Limerick and Galway University Hospitals) over an 18-month timeline, with subsequent roll-out over a further 18-month period to other sites.

The HSE has hired GE Healthcare Finnamore as a “technical partner” to assist in the delivery of the NPFIP.  The budget for the contract has a maximum annual value of €650,000, exclusive of VAT.

Additional funding of approximately €580,000 per annum has been provided for the establishment of NPFIP teams in the two sites, which brings the total maximum annual budget for the programme to €1.23 million.

The HSE said the role of GE Healthcare Finnamore, which won an open competitive tender process in 2016, is to bring expertise and experience in the application of operations management techniques such as lean, simulation and modelling, to improve patient flow through the hospital system.

A key aspect of the role is to support and enable hospital staff to continue the programme when the contract concludes, according to the HSE.

However, the HSE did not specify how the NPFIP would differ from the IHRP, which was also a ‘proof of concept’ patient flow exercise. “The learning from the IHRP programme informed the development of the National Patient Flow Improvement Programme, for example, in ensuring a focus on provision of adequate resources to support the programme and sustainability,” said the spokesperson.

The HSE is supporting both sites to release staff to roles as programme leads, data analytic leads and clinical leads and the establishment of a national team.

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