Speaking to the HSJ, Sir Jim Mackey has said that patients at trusts with long waiting lists should no longer think “they have to go to their local hospital” for outpatient appointments, but should instead be offered virtual consultations elsewhere in the country where there is greater capacity.
Following NHSE’s announcement that the first elective recovery plan milestone of eliminating two-year waiters has been met, with the number of 104-week waiters at the end of last month reduced to 2,777 and the target “virtually” achieved, the focus now shifts to reducing the waiting list for those waiting 78-weeks plus by March 2023.
Sir Jim Mackey stated: “There still is a lot to work through [on virtual outpatients], we’re going to be testing the concept… We need to work through how all the wiring and plumbing needs to work. For example, what happens if the patient needs a diagnostic locally, having seen a clinician virtually in another part of the country?
“It would be great also to try and stimulate more of a consumer drive on this – encouraging patients to ask about virtual outpatients when the waits locally may be too long, so they don’t just think they have to go to their local hospital. I think this could really help shift the model if we can get it right.”
He also refreshed his calls for patient initiated follow ups to be rolled out on an industrial scale.
Sir Jim said: “I do believe strongly that we really need to have a go at inverting the outpatient model, and for trusts to have a go at doing their version of what Norfolk and Norwich are doing.”
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust is currently overseeing the NHS’s most ambitious patient initiated follow up programme, with Liaison Group partners, Infinity Health, providing the task management platform to the project, where the Trust has categorised around half of its outpatient follow-up list as “possible or probable opportunities” for patient-initiated pathways.
To find out more about Liaison Workforce’s mii Tasks solution, powered by Infinity Health, and how the task management platform can support patient initiated follow ups, please get in touch at email@example.com