The Director of the National Elective Care Transformation Programme, Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, says NHS Long Term Plan will be a game changer
The NHS Long Term Plan commits to reducing face-to-face outpatient appointments by up to a third over the next five years.
This will be a game-changer for many patients. Far less need to struggle with public transport, road congestion, or parking; to arrange for time off work or to be accompanied by a relative or friend; or to travel for hours just to have a brief exchange in an outpatient clinic and little time for questions.
Transforming the approach will not just save patients time and money, it will allow staff to work in the most efficient and satisfying way, reduce pollution from road travel, and save the NHS more than £1 billion a year.
It is a big change to the way the NHS traditionally works – and that’s where the Elective Care Transformation Programme’s expertise comes in.
Over the last two years, we have successfully led rapid testing and implementation of innovative approaches to transform outpatient services in 14 high-volume elective specialties.
Some of the initiatives we have tested include:
- follow-ups over the phone, or by Skype, with a specialist nurse: 100 per cent of post-operative prostate patients in Dudley offered telephone follow-ups preferred these to travelling to hospital for their appointment.
- open invitations for patients to contact their clinic after surgery or for a long term condition, with clear guidance about how and why they should get in touch, as an alternative to routine follow-ups for all. All patients offered open access in Great Preston, Chorley and South Ribble as they recovered from gynaecology surgery rated their care as good or very good, including the 87 per cent who did not require a follow-up.
- ‘one stop’ clinics which people attend for multiple aspects of their care, potentially including scans or X-rays: in Lincolnshire, one stop pre-assessment clinics for general surgery reduced non-attendance rates from 9 per cent to 4 per cent.
Source: NHS England 3rd May 2019
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