“Our interim, Kevin, brought in more rigour to the process, engaged the consultants, produced management reports which showed a trajectory which he then bettered and within a short period of time we were back on track. I found him to be exactly what I needed to get that piece of work done.

“Kevin tells it straight and isn’t afraid of letting people know that they aren’t doing what they should be doing. He brings operational grip and at that same time that operational grip enables the teams he’s working with to improve their performance and develop greater management skills.” 

Jon Scott, NHS Trust COO

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Putting doctors’ orders back in order

Our interim helped an NHS Trust hit its 18-week target and halve its backlog.

The client

Interim Partners was engaged by an NHS Trust to assist with their 18 week target. The NHS Trust had improved their performance target from less than 80% to over 90% the previous year. 

The challenge

An NHS Trust’s 18-week performance looked set to fall back to 80%, making fines, lost revenue and reputational risk a very real possibility.


The solution

Our director of Healthcare, Steve Melber, introduced his pick of the NHS 18-week turnaround experts he interviewed from his known and unknown UK network. A senior interim manager with over 20 years’ NHS experience and 14 years in the military before that was placed.

The selected Interim Executive committed to getting the Trust back towards 95% in just two months. The Trust didn’t know why it wasn’t hitting targets but he soon did. The Trust’s focus had been on getting patients seen as soon as possible but this didn’t address the fact that many were already over the 18-week period. Patients were being added to the backlog at the same rate as those leaving it.

Our Interim Executive shifted the focus from the backlog to the pathway, looking at those patients in the 15- to 18-week period. He organised weekly meetings between schedulers, surgeons and operational managers and showed them how they could make better use of the data available to them. For example, if a Trust gives three weeks’ notice to a patient for an appointment and they decline, their position in the queue is frozen. To help them meet targets, the Trust needed to notify patients of appointments at least three weeks in advance and before 15 weeks.


The results

The Trust regained over 95% 18-week compliance. The Interim Executive and the team also reduced the backlog from 260 to 108, exceeding his 50% reduction target. His review of the 18-week operation and training of his successors kept the Trust above 95% even after his assignment ended.

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