NHS areas across the country have been facing waiting list backlogs for many elective care specialties, and staffing issues continue to make it challenging to tackle the elective restoration work.
BBC News reported this month that one in eight people are on hospital waiting lists across the country, with thousands who have been waiting more than two years.
Consultant Connect is being commissioned to support NHS trusts with clinically validating and appropriately prioritising referral waiting lists.
Our Referral Triage service provides the immediate capacity of ‘virtual’ NHS consultants from our National Consultant Network working remotely as part of a local team, allowing on the ground consultants to focus on treating patients. All specialists available are NHS consultants and act as ‘virtual’ consultants, working as part of a local team and are briefed to follow local protocols and pathways.
Referral Triage in Coventry & Warwickshire
In July 2022, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) decided to use Consultant Connect’s Referral Triage service to run a project focusing on their gynaecology waiting list.
The aim of this project is to clinically validate the backlog waiting list for 2,000 gynaecology patients, prioritising the long-waiters (waiting up to 2 years until their appointment).
Over a quarter of the waiting list has been triaged to date, and early results show a significant impact in directing patients to the most appropriate pathway, improving their care.
Reduction in first outpatient appointments
The data shows that 15% of referrals were sent back to Primary Care with Advice & Guidance, and 1% of the referrals were booked for diagnostics only. With 14% of referrals now being booked to be seen via the new GP Primary Care Gynaecology Service, this represents a significant freeing up of outpatient capacity, with 30% of the referrals reviewed not requiring a first outpatient appointment.
The referrals returned to Primary Care with Advice & Guidance is in the form of a detailed letter with information and advice about the suitable management of the patient’s condition. To support these Advice & Guidance letters, a dedicated phone line (managed by Consultant Connect) is also offered for referrers to ask additional questions about the information received.
Outcomes of early triage work:
- 66% of referrals remained on the outpatient waiting list
- 2% of referrals are upgraded to a two-week-wait (2WW) pathway
- 1% of referrals were booked in for diagnostics
- 1 % of referrals were rejected with further information requested
- 15% of referrals were returned to Primary Care with Advice & Guidance
- 14% of referrals were seen in the community via the Primary Care gynaecology pathway
Helen West (System Lead for Elective Recovery, Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board) comments:
“As an ICB, we have worked closely with Consultant Connect and our Provider Organisations for referral validation and triage. Consultant Connect are a responsive and professional organisation. They have gone out of their way to provide timely support and services to set this project up.
They always have been flexible to our needs working around our systems and processes to help deliver our projects. Their team of staff are friendly and knowledgeable and always engage to provide the best service possible.
They deliver a service in the background that has assisted us to improve the delivery of our services and ultimately more timely care to our patients.”
If you have any questions or would like more information about how our Referral Triage service could support your area, call us on 01865 261 467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Referral Triage
- Referral Triage: Outcomes and Impact
- Tackling the gynaecology waiting list
- National Consultant Network