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The Productive Series and finance teams
“The Productive Series is probably the strongest product in the world for driving change in providers (of healthcare).”


Jim Easton – Director of Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention, Department of Health

The Productive Series provides a suite of programmes to help NHS staff improve efficiency and productivity in a range of services from acute wards and theatres, to community and mental health settings, as well as general practice.

The Productive Care national QIPP workstream is made up of the main programmes in The Productive Series. It has estimated the potential financial impact of these programmes for NHS England is just under £1.4billion spread over the following:

The Productive Ward £259,188,550
The Productive Mental Health Ward£72,438,750
The Productive Operating Theatre £601,391,000
Productive Community Services£447,000,000
Total £1,380,018,300

Successful implementation of The Productive Series can result in measurable outcomes that deliver benefits within four key areas:



This can be compared to a business balanced score card approach, with improved performance in one area supporting improved performance in another. For example, improved scheduling in theatres can improve the capacity of a given level of resource so that patients experience fewer delays and potentially this can translate to staff taking lunch breaks and finishing on time. Similar examples can be found across each of the service areas to which The Productive Series can be applied.

What are the cashable benefits?
Having already worked with a number of NHS organisations who have already translated this potential financial impact into tangible cashable savings, we have observed two kinds of common cashable benefits.

First order benefits – these are the small working capital reductions that seem to be realised by almost every organisation that implements a Productive programme. An example of this kind of benefit is the initial small scale stock reduction experienced by teams. Community teams at Leicestershire County and Rutland Community Health Services saved over £134,000 by improving the way they order and manage stock.

Second order benefits – larger scale financial benefits which are not realised by every organisation implementing The Productive Series. These may include reductions in revenue spend, increases in income or reductions in assets employed. For example, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust achieved a £2 million saving through reductions in waiting lists.
Role of finance teams
The role played by finance teams, particularly accountants, is one of differentiating factors that help determine whether an organisation can realise both first and second order benefits or not. By being actively involved in a Productive programme from the outset, accountants can help ensure that both first and second order savings are achieved, measured and tracked throughout the programme. The accountant is often also well placed to utilise financial and non-financial information and leverage the informatics support available within the organisation.

Essentially the accountant is shifting the focus of support for improvement programmes from one of managing project budgets and monitoring milestones, to one of project risk management and benefits realisation.
Further information


For more information and examples of the financial benefits organisations have achieved through implementing Productive programmes, visit The Productive Series homepageor email productivecare@institute.nhs.uk

Find out how you can identify, track and calculate the financial benefits that may be associated with improvements gained from implementing The Productive Ward by downloading the Calculating the financial benefit of The Productive Ward: Releasing time to care™ publication.

Download a copy of the Focus on quality to release efficiency savings poster.

Download our Narrative pack for finance directors.docNarrative pack for finance directors.doc (59.00 KB)

We also have a range of tools for benefits realisation that can help. This can be found in Quality and service improvement tools.