Most NHS services were under considerable pressure before the pandemic. Accommodating the surge in admissions has led to redeploying staff and facilities and suspending most planned care for patients with pre-existing health care needs. But there are concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the health care needs of those with longer term health conditions (LTCs). Ongoing collaboration and communication between care providers and their patients will be hugely important especially during the next few months.
Here are our 5 recommendations for improving care for patients with LTCs:
1. Provide primary care (GPs, Nurses, Paramedics etc) with rapid and reliable access to expert advice in local LTC specialities allowing patients with LTCs to be looked after in primary care – where possible.
2. Where there is no local option for GPs, Nurses, Paramedics to get advice (perhaps due to staff shortage or stretched clinical capacity), consider the use of out-of-area NHS consultants. After all non-local expert advice is better than no expert advice.
3. Prioritise waiting lists, that have built up due to COVID, to allow LTC patients to be seen in hospital quicker or for their care to be referred back to their GP. If this cannot be done locally, consider using Consultant Connect’s Referral Backlog Triage Service. The NHS consultants we use to review lists have reviewed 3,000 referrals in just 3 weeks for one NHS area.
4. Enable clinicians to share LTC patient photos and images with local specialists via email or other secure methods. ECG results and other patient tests can be efficiently shared this way. Read this diabetes case study (using Photo messaging).
5. Enable other care providers (including care homes) access to specialist advice. A good example of this is community nurses have access to Photo messaging – read this Nurse case study.
Consultant Connect can help with all of the above, please contact us for more information.
Telephone: 01865 261467