Hospital porters and nurses could become instant millionaires for coming up with ways that the NHS can save money by being more efficient.
The government believes that “innovation” among NHS staff is the only way the NHS can improve standards as it faces a budget freeze for future years.
The NHS has been forced to make £2.3bn worth of efficiency savings in 2009 alone.
Health Minister Lord Darzi has secured £20m from NHS funds, which will be given to those with the best ideas over the next four years in a “who wants to be a millionaire plan”.
He said the money could go to anyone from “scientists, to doctors, nurses and porters, coming together”.
“It is a case of changing the mindset,” he said. “We want everyone to be thinking about innovation, because that is what will drive improvement.”
A panel of experts will devise a series of challenges for the NHS, and hand out prizes of up to £5m per innovation for the best ideas.
These are likely to include ways to tackle problems such as child obesity, the treatment of dementia, long-term illnesses and how to better treat a rapidly expanding elderly population.
Copyright © Press Association 2009
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the NHS? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
“Patients – there is far too much non-compliance in care and prescriptions which are cashed and never used! Patients should be consented to their care and sign an agreement to their careplan to ie lose weight, give up smoking etc and if they do not take responsibilty for themselves the care should be stopped or reduced to the minimum, preventing overuse of very expensive dressing and nursing time” – Liz Vickerage, Birmingham