Priorities agreed to drive out variation in patient care

A programme of work is taking place to reduce the amount of unjustified clinical variation in the care of patients across Sussex and East Surrey. Currently, there is significant differences in how our patients are being treated in some areas, which is leading to a ‘postcode lottery’ in the standards of care in some areas.

Senior leaders and clinicians across the STP have agreed that addressing this issue needs to be a key focus and three priority areas have been identified – musculokeletal (MSK), cardiovascular and falls. There reasons these areas have been identified are:

  • We currently have variation in the length of time patients spend in hospital and the infection rates following a total hip or knee replacement. We also spend more on total hip and knee replacements than other similar areas in the country, despite seeing the same number of patients.
  • We currently have variation in the implementation of national best practice guidelines for patients with heart issues and we have a higher mortality rate from heart disease in parts of our STP compared to others areas of the country. We also spend more money of invasive heart procedures compared to other similar areas in the country.
  • We currently have variation in the number of over 65s at risk of falls and the way in which we try to prevent falls taking place. There is also variation in the amount of time patients spend in hospital following a fall and we spend more on the consequences of falls than other similar areas in the country.

Oversight groups are being established for each priority area to support collaborative cross-organisational work.