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A Q approach to queue-busting for outpatients

Posted: 11th October 2019

Waiting for an appointment is recognised as one of the most frustrating parts of being referred to hospital for a consultation in an outpatients’ clinic.

It could be a matter or days or weeks – either way life is in limbo until you get a letter on the doormat. But does it need to be this way? Does every outpatient appointment have to involve a face-to-face consultation, or can technology provide a solution?

An Innovation Collaborative involving Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network is exploring new ways of enabling outpatient appointments that both meet the needs of people referred to hospital and those of clinicians battling with the challenges of rising demand.

The Trust has identified the three specialities with the longest waiting times and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN is now working with its network of creative and ingenious innovators to identify and evaluate potential solutions using Quality Improvement measures.

Tony Jamieson, Director of Transformation and Improvement at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said:“We want people to have a better experience of care by breaking the mould of the traditional outpatients’ model by getting creative in a bid to break down barriers to accessing services such as not having English as a first language or having a learning difficulty or disability.

“There are hundreds of potential digital and medtech solutions on the market (or close to market) that might help people with undiagnosed or chronic illness get the care they need from their hospital. But which one is the right one to implement for their illness, their circumstances, their environment and is within the realms of possibility for the hospital? We’re working to trial new ideas directly with patients at Barnsley Hospital so that they can have a say in driving forward improvements”

Aejaz Zahid, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (ICS) Innovation Hub Director, commented: “The South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Innovation Hub team feel that there is real potential in the virtual outpatients project and we are working with Barnsley Hospital and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN to support it.”

The project has been shortlisted for the final round of Q Exchange 2019 and is calling for support for this innovative work. Q Community members can support the application by voting here before the deadline of noon, Monday October 21, 2019.

Barnsley Hospital is part of South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw ICS. This ICS has developed an Innovation Hub with Yorkshire & Humber AHSN that will benefit from the lessons from this project and can transfer them across a system that covers a population of about 1.5m people.

This will provide critical lessons for the rapid uptake of innovation, a key element of the Long-term Plan, that can be utilised by the national AHSN network and all the organisations it supports across England.