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How do hospital cleaning costs vary?
April 22nd, 2016

The idea for this blog came from the Carter Review. Led by Lord Carter of Coles, this independent review was published in February 2016, and investigated the ways the NHS in England could save money by procuring and using its resources more efficiently, while at the same time improving care in the NHS. There's a fair amount of supporting analysis included in this review, but we wanted to see what we could find by taking a slightly different look using open healthcare data. In doing so we downloaded NHS data pertaining to its Estates and Facilities, Workforce, Market Forces Factor (MFF) and numbers of Clostridium Difficile (C-Diff) infections, reporting at NHS Trust level over the same time period: the 2014/15 financial year.

The Estates and Facilities data contains a large amount of information regarding the physical aspect of an NHS Trust - such as its physical footprint, energy consumed per annum, waste created per annum, number of car parking spaces - along with the associated cost to the Trust of these resources and services. For this blog we decided to focus on the annual cleaning costs of NHS Trusts - to see how they vary across Trusts and if any inference can be made from this variation. Following on from the principles of the Carter Review, we wanted to see if we could spot Trusts who had relatively low cleaning costs and how this impacted on one measure that can be used as one aspect of a proxy for the quality of care - the number of C-Diff incidents within a Trust.

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It's been interesting to see what analysis could be done in this area using open healthcare data. Lots more could be done using the same datasets we downloaded for analysis - the ERIC data covers alot more NHS Trust estates and facilities resources and costs than just cleaning costs.

If anything this analysis has shown again the value in linking data in order to gain insight. While the sources of data weren't all that disparate there were three completely different sources - the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), Public Health England (PHE) and Monitor (which merged with the Trust Development Agency in April 2016 to become NHS Improvement). It just goes to show that, when using open government data, it helps if you have an idea what's out there in the first place and where it may be - sometimes it is not at all obvious!