Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) is a national programme designed to improve medical care within the NHS by reducing unwarranted variations. By tackling variations in the way services are delivered across the NHS, and by sharing best practice between trusts, GIRFT identifies changes that will help improve care and patient outcomes, as well as delivering efficiencies such as the reduction of unnecessary procedures and cost savings.
Importantly, GIRFT is led by frontline clinicians who are expert in the areas they are reviewing. This means the data that underpins the GIRFT methodology is being reviewed by people who understand those disciplines and manage those services on a daily basis. The GIRFT team visit every trust carrying out the specialties they are reviewing, investigating the data with their peers and discussing the individual challenges they face.
GIRFT began as a pilot within orthopaedic surgery led by orthopaedic surgeon Professor Tim Briggs and hosted by NHS Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust (RNOH). Following the success of the pilot the GIRFT methodology was rolled out to more than 30 medical specialties and is now a partnership between the RNOH and the Operational Productivity Directorate of NHS Improvement (NHSI).
After the pilot, an NHSI a survey of more than 70 trusts found total savings of up to £30m for 2014/15 and a further £20m forecast for 2015/16 as a result of adopting GIRFT’s recommendations. If extrapolated across the more than 140 providers visited these savings would be almost £100m.
The expansion of GIRFT was made possible by £60m of funding from the Department of Health, announced by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in November 2016, as part of a package of measures intended in part to reduce infection rates in the NHS. He stated that GIRFT would help save the NHS £1.5bn per year.
These measures are intended to achieve a dramatic reduction in hospital infections, reducing enormous human pain and suffering in the process.
They will save doctors and nurses time, and save the NHS money. But most of all they will be another vital step in making NHS care something we can all be proud of as the safest and highest quality anywhere on the planet.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt