NHS needs to get efficient…It needs ECM and BPM

14 06 2010

Let’s face it the NHS is a great example of diseconomies of scale, and a great example of the lack of administration efficiency is shown with the amount of paper that is getting generated and pushed around. In the past 2 years, the boards of NHS trusts, created at least 22 million paper documents over the past two years. If that figure itself isn’t a little worrying, then just think, we are only talking about documents generated for communications to senior managers and to each other! The South West Essex Trust alone generated 333,000 documents, that’s just mad…

The department of health spent close to half a billion pounds in fees to external consultants in the year 2009-2010, so why has no one in the NHS really adopted ECM on a large scale? Just looking at these paper figures alone, it is very clear that each NHS trust should be using some form of ECM solution.

So just what could ECM do to help make savings in the NHS and raise efficiency? Well for starters, it can remove the majority of the paper costs, increase the efficiency of sharing knowledge, rationalise communications through knowledge and content sharing and increase collaboration.

I don’t want this post to turn into a long list of all the benefits of ECM, I have written many other posts on these and there are so many out there, rather it was just to highlight the fact that the NHS should be embracing Enterprise 2.0 concepts, ECM and BPM.

I will leave you with this thought, the health watchdog, the King’s fund, reports that while the number of staff rose 35% from 1999 to 2009 (to 1,117,000), the number of managers rose by 85%! Now please someone find me any example in the public sector where this kind of in-efficiency and top heavy organisation is a success….I bet you can’t, because any organisation in the private sector that was run in this fashion would be long bust…The NHS needs to get efficient just like any private sector organisation, it needs BPM, ECM and hell of a lot of dead wood removing…

My NHS experience…

11 05 2009

Ok well this isn’t an IT based blog today, one of the reasons for this is the fact that I haven’t been able to work for the past 2 weeks and I only like to blog about things that I have been doing that week.

So, we all know what Flu type symptoms feel like, and with Swine flu doing the rounds, flu does seem to be the hot topic. Well for the past 5 weeks I have been suffering with“flu” like illness. Now being a typical, man, grrrrr, I thought I would just sit it out and get better, against the intelligent wishes of my fiancé, who suggested I visit the my GP….

Well on Monday (20th April 09), I started to feel quite a bit better. All good I thought, however come the weekend I was worse than ever and was filling my body with lots and lots of helpful drugs. On the following Monday I had to visit the GP, things were just so bad I had to admit I was wrong.

Ambulance trip

My GP prescribed some strong antibiotics but unfortunately this didn’t seem to work. Now I know looking back on things this is a bad sign, but during the Tuesday my feet went a very dark purple colour, almost black, and I lost all feeling in them. I thought this was due to being a little cold and simply went for a walk in a hot bath to wake them up again. However, they never really got back to normal. Come the evening I was finding all my legs were quite numb. Again, not a great sign.

Well just as I went to get into bed, I experienced a very strong bout of “pins and needles” in my feet. As I tried to wake my feet up, the “pins and needles” moved up my legs. At this point I realised I could no longer feel my feet, nor could I move my toes. I lay on the bed only for things to get a lot worse. The “pins and needles” moved up my body and then into my hands and arms. Everywhere that had the “pins and needles” was, paralysed me, I simply couldn’t move. Needless to say this was very scary and as the sensation moved over my chest and up through my neck and into my head, my vision started to fade. To be honest, I was making my last goodbyes. My fiancé called the ambulance and we thought maybe I was having a heart attack….Not good for someone only 32 years old!

Well the women on the phone talked my fiancé through things to do calmly, which really helped. The ambulance was at our door in less than 5 minutes and I was being examined, still unable to move. At this point it was clear that my breathing was still good and there was nothing wrong with my heart. I still couldn’t move though and the “pins and needles” was all over my body at this point. The paramedics and ambulance crew were very calming on us both, which to be honest was needed. I was then lifted into a chair and carried into the ambulance. My fiancé was given a choice of which hospital to be taken too, simply because we lived on the border catchment area of two main hospitals. She chose for me to be taken to “Queens hospital” in Romford, this was better for family and friends to visit me at…

A and E

Once in Accident and Emergency (A&E), things got worse for me. I can’t really remember much from this point on, however I do remember being sick, unable to move still, this wasn’t nice. Tubes were pushed into my mouth to clear my airway and I believe I was given a healthy dose of antiviral and antibiotic injections.

It was sometime before things were coming round for me. I remember having a chest x-ray and being moved for a CT scan of my brain. However, I had re-gained my movement, well I could move. I was also unbelievably tired and kept falling asleep when people tried to talk to me.

It was now 5am, some 7 hours after I had tried to get into bed with “pins and needles” in my feet. I was moved to the Acute Assessment ward where I was monitored closely. Apart from a small re-lapse on the Wednesday morning, things seemed to be getting better. I was left however with a “numb” sensation throughout my body with my right hand side feeling a lot worse and a lot weaker. This wasn’t nice; but I could move again and, in myself, started to feel much better.

Both myself and my fiancé at this point though were highly concerned with what had caused this issue. We knew that I had provided a number of blood samples and these were being used to culture anything found in my blood. The doctors did inform us though that they believed the issue to be caused by a virus. I had also managed to pick up a second and third bacterial infection, something which is common when you already have a nasty virus.

Up on the wards

After a couple of days the numb sensation in my body started to fade. Being moved to the wards was great, as I felt like I was making good progress and would be home soon. I was on two doses of antibiotics which were being given to me via a drip, once in the evening and once in the morning. I have to say I was looked after well, and exactly one week after being admitted I completed my antibiotics and was given the all clear to go home. At this point I was still very weak and was getting tired very quickly after any form of exercise, but rest is all I needed now….

It was also confirmed that all my issues had been caused by a viral infection, with my condition made worse with a bladder infection and a bacterial infection which had caused my sore throat. So off I went home, feeling a little tired but highly relieved, and, much better…


Well this was the scariest moment of my life, and many times I thought I wouldn’t be here any longer to write this blog or anything else. I am so thankful to the quick and highly professional actions of telephone operator, the ambulance crew, paramedics and everyone at A&E. Also the doctors and nurses who monitored me in Acute Assessment were excellent, keeping a watchful eye on me and keeping my fiancé updated with the situation. The ward staff were also excellent, taking care of me and the other patients in a friendly and relaxing fashion. All in all, my NHS experience was excellent and I only have praise and admiration for everyone involved…I am glad to be home though and now back to work. 2 weeks after those “pins and needles” and 5 weeks after I started to get man flu…

So what have I learnt? Well number one, if you feel ill for more than a couple of days, go and see your GP sooner rather than later. If I had, maybe this whole incident would never have happened. Secondly, being that scared and thinking you would no longer see everyone again, does put things into perspective. I really hope that the little things in life do not stress me out as much and that I always remember to get a health work and life balance, with family and friends coming first…