- New analysis shows postal expenditure of 57 NHS Trusts could be used to hire over 3,000 more Junior Doctors
- Total expenditure of NHS equates to over half of the £1.03bn required to deliver Junior Doctor pay restoration pushed for in strike action this week
- The NHS could save £98 million pounds by digitising their postal output
New analysis by secure digital communications specialists Beyond Encryption, reveals the huge cost that the use of postal services inflicts on the NHS, with £1o3.7m spent by 57 NHS Trusts over the past five years1.
The figures obtained from an FOI request reveal that individual NHS Trusts were, on average, spending over £500,000 each year on post. This equates to the whole of the NHS spending over £100 million each year on post and over half a billion pounds every 5 years2.
The NHS, which is currently experiencing a staff shortage crisis and is being affected by a Junior Doctors strike this week, could theoretically hire the equivalent of 3,048 more junior Doctors with the reported spend on post3. Alternatively, as the British Medical Association4 stated, Junior Doctor pay restoration would cost the Government £1.03bn so this could contribute significantly to that deficit.
The NHS could save over £98 million by digitising their communications and no longer relying on postal services according to Beyond Encryption5.
The NHS trusts shown to have spent the most on post were as follows:
- University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust – £9.3m
- Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust – £8.55m
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – £7.3m
- University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust – £4.3m
- University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust – £3.5m
The figures also revealed significant environmental impact from the NHS’ reliance on post. When looking at the FOI responses from 39 NHS trusts, it was revealed that over 100 million letters have been sent since 20186. This significant output emits 3,680tCO2e7 which is the equivalent of driving over nine million miles in a petrol car, and would require over 6,000 trees to be planted to offset the emissions8.
The NHS trusts that have sent the most letters since 2018 are as follows:
- North Bristol NHS Trust – 15.7m
- Southport and Ormskirk Hospital – 8.7m
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – 7.8m
- Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – 7.4m
- University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust – 6.4m
Paul Holland CEO and founder at Beyond Encryption commented: “All organisations should be looking for ways they can improve operating efficiencies, reduce costs and lower their environmental impact – and the NHS is no different. These figures reveal not only the astronomical financial cost but also the damaging environmental impact the NHS’ reliance on post is having. It’s vital that in 2023, the NHS looks to modernise and embrace digital transformation strategies to implement secure, cost effective and efficient communication services. Otherwise, the institution will simply be unable to navigate future challenges and deal with the increased pressure and strain it will undoubtedly face.”
Tom Baldock, Managing Director at Synertec, which provides 35% of the communication output for the NHS, said: “I completely agree with Paul’s comments regarding the need for comms with improved efficiency and reduced costs within organisations. At Synertec, we firmly believe that digital communication will play a significant part in the future of NHS comms, and we are excited by some of the innovation that Beyond Encryption has applied to this area. Secure email can become a huge piece of the communications puzzle for organisations looking to streamline their interactions. However, as we continue to support many NHS trusts with their conversion to digital, we believe a wider communication strategy must be put in place to ensure that patients receive correspondence in a format that meets their needs. This could be digital, post, a mixture of both, or specific accessibility formats such as braille.”