One of the organisations we keep coming back to when looking at transformed community services is Buurtzorg, from the Netherlands. Buurtzorg, which roughly translates as neighbourhood health has a flat organisational structure – empowering front-line nurses to make decisions about how they care for their patients. This has both improved the quality of care and reduced its’ cost.
The BBC recently featured the organisation on the Today programme – with a feature entitled: How can the NHS reduce its costs without sacrificing frontline care? It looks at Buurtzorg as an example of how things can be done differently, describing how the organisation has stripped away middle management. The figures reported suggest that if all of the Netherlands nursing organisations operated in this way, the country could make savings of €2bn each year. If the same process was rolled out across the UK, that could be almost £6 billion. All this achieved while improving the satisfaction of patients and staff.
You can listen to the broadcast and discussion on iplayer radio – the feature starts 33 minutes into the programme. BBC Correspondent Anna Holligan talks to the CEO of Buurtzorg Jos de Blok – who describes how this new organisational structure is based on the autonomy of professionals. Jos spoke at our conference on the art of the possible in community services last year – you can hear his talk about innovation in provisioning here.