FINANCE: Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group has launched an investigation into a “significant increase” in the cost of accident and emergency at one of the city’s major hospitals.
According to Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust’s July board papers, the increase in its A&E work resulted in a £900,000 jump in the cost of the commissioned service over two months.
The papers added: “This may be due to more patients reaching the four hour target, being booked in as a non-elective emergency and therefore attracting the higher tariff.”
The CCG has established a taskforce to investigate the cost increase.
Debbie Barnett, acting deputy director of finance at Royal Liverpool, said: “We recently undertook measures to improve patient flow and ensure that our patients are cared for in the most appropriate setting.
“We looked at how we managed patients requiring ambulatory care such as those with suspected deep vein thrombosis or minor head injuries.
“Following advice from the [NHS Interim Management and Support] emergency care intensive support team we reviewed the conditions for the use of our observation beds in the emergency department to use these more regularly for ambulatory care, rather than admit these patients into hospital for a short stay.
“This has led to an increase in non-elective admissions being classed as having zero length of stay.”
She added that Royal Liverpool had highlighted “a level of financial overperformance” in relation to this and that the trust was working with Liverpool CCG to review the issue.
A spokeswoman for Liverpool CCG said it was “aware of the significant increase in emergency zero length of stay admissions in the trust in the first couple of months of this year”.
She said: “We are currently exploring the background and potential changes in clinical pathways that sit behind this with the trust and the associated financial consequences.”