By bringing in ‘virtual locum’ resource, our clinically-led Referral Triage and Clinical Validation service is supporting specialty teams across the NHS to reduce their waiting lists. NHS consultants from our National Consultant Network (NCN) are brought in on a ‘virtual locum’ basis and are able to work through backlogs in bulk and/or new referrals as they come in.
Triaging referrals results in cleared backlogs and improved patient care as, in some cases, the NCN consultant provides a management plan ahead of an appointment which delivers faster assurance for patients. For other referrals, it ensures patients are on the correct pathway, with clinical risks being assessed and urgent cases are seen first.
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) recently used the service to support with triaging their long waiters list in Dermatology.
Michelle Benyon, Service Manager at DBTH comments:
‘One clear benefit of the work is in the management of clinical risk as it’s capturing the upgraded patients to 2WW as all cases are now triaged.
Where appropriate, the service has provided plans to the GP to enable treatment to commence prior to attending for their first appointment.’
Dr Rabi Nambi, NHS Consultant Dermatologist, triaging dermatology referrals for DBTH, comments:
‘This pathway aimed to provide an initial response based on the GP letters and photos where possible. As the majority did not have photos, I did initially feel the value of this may be difficult to ascertain, but as time went by, I realised multiple treatment options could be implemented for an immediate impact on the patient’s disease management. The initial treatment in many of these patients were actually with more definitive treatments.
Photographs of lesions were looked at, and skin cancers were picked up, including melanomas and other skin cancers. These were upgraded, and many referrals were downgraded from urgent to routine as well, considered as a low priority to be seen freeing up valuable urgent appointment slots.
The educational value of such plans, along with signposting of relevant online resources, has been appreciated by GPs in other similar Consultant Connect settings.’
Summary outcomes for 4,000 referrals:
- 47% of referrals received advice to commence treatment immediately
- 2% of referrals upgraded to 2ww
The full breakdown of outcomes for over 4,000 referrals triaged is detailed below:
- 41% of referrals accepted, routine, treatment advice for commencement in the community
- 39% of referrals accepted, routine
- 9% of referrals accepted, urgent
- 4% of referrals were returned to GPs with advice
- 2% of referrals accepted, urgent, treatment advice for commencement in the community
- 2% of referrals were upgraded to 2ww
- 2% of referrals were unable to be triaged, accept
- 1% of referrals were redirected to another service
- 1% of referrals were rejected, referral incomplete
If you have any questions or would like to find out how Referral Triage could support your area, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 261 467.
- Reducing waiting lists efficiently
- National Consultant Network
- Referral Triage and Validation service
- Referral Triage and Validation Infographic
- In the press: NHS waiting lists: there IS a silver bullet
- Referral Triage and Diagnostic review
- The Cost of a Referral
If you have any questions or would like to find out how Referral Triage could support your area, fill in our short contact form below: