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Found 20 results
  1. News Article
    East Cheshire faces a serious issue with head and neck cancer, with missed target times and inefficient practices leading to worsening outcomes for patients. That’s prompted officials from the NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to come up with a plan of action to tackle the problem — but as Cheshire East councillors heard this week, it’s hit a snag. Since 2014, the East Cheshire NHS Trust and Manchester Foundational Trust (MFT) have co-delivered the head and neck cancer pathway. This means that patients are seen by staff at Macclesfield Hospital for diagnostic tests — and if malignant cells are detected, then the patient will be referred on to Wythenshawe for surgery or, if sadly needed, East Cheshire’s own palliative care team for supportive care. In a presentation to CEC’s health scrutiny committee, the CCG said just 10% of patients in the borough were seen at Macclesfield within the 62-day target time in Q3 of 2019/20 — against a desired level of 85%. Simon Goff, chief operating officer of East Cheshire NHS Trust, told the committee: “There is no one stop service - which is where a patient gets diagnostics all on the same day. Biopsies are not always up to the standards required so patients need to have it again. This is a key weakness in the existing service.” The lack of a ‘one stop service’ means there are no on-site pathology services — so samples are taken off-site for testing, and with biopsies needing to be analysed within 24 hours of collection, it results in 39% of all patients having to undergo the procedure again. So what did East Cheshire do about it? The first step was to launch a consultation, with 64 former patients out of roughly 300 eligible providing feedback to the Trust over the summer. The ‘robust’ consultation, saw patients express their desire to ‘know what is going on as soon as possible’, with the ‘issue of travel being outweighed by [the desire for] a quick diagnosis’. Fortunately for health chiefs in Cheshire, there are ‘outstanding’ hospitals surrounding the county — with the Care Quality Commission giving top marks to hospitals in Salford, St Helens, and The Christie in Didsbury. So with East Cheshire’s patients happy to travel a distance in order to gain a quick and accurate diagnosis, and the existing partnership with Manchester’s trust, officials are proposing moving some patients experiencing positive diagnoses and ‘bad news’ cases to MFT sites, such as The Christie or Wythenshawe Hospital. The idea is that ‘neck lump’ patients will be immediately sent to Wythenshawe, with all other patients undergoing initial tests in Macclesfield first before being either sent home with the all clear, or referred on. Biopsies will be done in Wythenshawe, as will ‘breaking bad news’ appointments — where patients are told of a positive cancer diagnosis. Officials say this solution ‘would start to address some of the clinical and performance concerns’ by cutting the average diagnosis wait time from four weeks down to one, reducing the amount of appointments patients need to attend, and allowing for continuity of care throughout treatment. Read full story Source: Knutsford Guardian, 10 October 2020
  2. News Article
    Much has been said about the delays to patient care during the first wave of COVID-19, but the full picture has been hard to pin down as statistics come in different forms and are released gradually. However, one recently-published poll performed by Ipsos Mori, with more than 2,000 UK adults aged between 18-75, revealed two-thirds of people who needed treatment for new or recently changed conditions had their care cancelled or delayed during March and July. The poll also revealed three-quarters of people missed out on routine treatment in the same timeframe. It is believed to be the hitherto largest patient-focused survey exploring the impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 care during its first peak. It found that – of the people who needed treatment for a new or changed condition – 23% chose to cancel their treatment while 42% had their treatment cancelled or delayed by their healthcare provider. Within the group of people requiring care for an ongoing problem, 31% of patients delayed or cancelled their treatment. Mark Davies, chief medical officer at IBM – which commissioned the poll – told HSJ the number of people with new or recently changed conditions choosing to cancel or delay their care was “really worrying”. “This survey backs up the anecdotal evidence we hear about people being worried about going into hospital during the pandemic,” he said. “It is striking that the proportion of this group of patients who did not get treatment is roughly similar to the proportion of patients requiring treatment for an ongoing health problem who cancelled or delayed their care." He said he would have expected the former group – those with new or changed conditions – to be more anxious to get treated, and warned of a “backlog of unmet need that is only going to emerge in the next few months”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 6 October 2020
  3. Community Post
    I've been posting advice to patients advising them to personally follow up on referrals. Good advice I believe, which could save lives. I'm interested in people's views on this. This is the message I'm sharing: **Important message for patients relating to clinical referrals in England** We need a specific effort to ensure ALL referrals are followed up. Some are getting 'lost'. I urge all patients to check your referral has been received, ensure your GP and the clinical team you have been referred to have the referral. Make sure you have a copy yourself too. Things are difficult and we accept there are waits. Having information on the progress of your referral, and an assurance that is is being clinically prioritised is vital. If patients are fully informed and assured of the progress of their referrals in real-time it could save time and effort in fielding enquiries and prevent them going missing or 'falling into a black hole', which is a reality for some people. It would also prevent clinical priorities being missed. Maybe this is happening, and patients are being kept fully informed in real-time of the progress of their referrals. It would be good to hear examples of best practice.
  4. News Article
    New guidance requires GPs to offer at least some face-to-face appointments, amid reports that some had completely eliminated them, sparking ‘significant incidents’. NHS England’s instructions for the third phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 were issued on Friday, including the call that “all GP practices must offer face to face appointments at their surgeries” along with remote triage and remote consultations. Most appointments in primary care have been carried out remotely since the NHS instituted new operating procedures in response to covid, with practices offering a mix of remote consultations over the telephone or video, with a diminished number face-to-face. However, there have been reports of some GP practices not offering any face-to-face appointments at all, and continuing this approach following the peak of cases in the spring. A letter to GPs last month told them they must offer appointments in person “where clinically appropriate”, now reiterated in the phase three guidance. The letter added: “It should be clear to patients that all practice premises are open to provide care, with adjustments to the mode of delivery. No practice should be communicating to patients that their premises are closed.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 4 August 2020
  5. Content Article
    The outpatient appointment Attending an outpatient appointment, in my experience, is daunting at the best of times. First, there is the appointment date. Often you have had to wait an exceptionally long time for this appointment (providing the referral letter hasn’t been lost). The date and time are chosen by the Trust. There are some Trusts and specialities that will allow you to choose a time and place, but more often than not you are not able to choose and changing the date and time can prove tricky. There are many reasons for a patient not to turn up for an appointment. These reasons and how to mitigate them are looked at by Trusts. The 'Did not attend' (DNA) rate is looked at by Trusts. DNAs have an enormous impact on the healthcare system in terms of increasing both costs and waiting times. Trusts often want to reduce these to: reduce costs improve clinic or service efficiency enable more effective booking of slots reduce mismatch between demand and capacity increase productivity. Then there is getting there. Getting time off work or college, making childcare arrangements, getting transport… finding parking! Before patients even get to the appointment, they have often been up a while planning this trip. Imagine what this must be like for a patient with learning disabilities. This poses even more planning. What medication might we meed to take with us? Are there changing facilities for adults? Can we get access? Is there space to wait? Will anyone understand me? How long will we be there for? Do they have all my information? Services need to be designed with patients' needs at the forefront: the ability to change appointment dates, the location in where the appointment is held, parking facilities, length of appointment, type of appointment, is a virtual appointment or telephone appointment more appropriate? If you have a learning disability, you may have a family member or carer with you. If you have transitioned out of children’s services you will be seeing someone new, in a new environment. You may not have had the time to discuss the fine nuances to your care that is really important to you. You have now left the comfort bubble of paediatrics where you and your family had built up trust with the previous consultant and care team, and you are now having to build up new relationships. What is in place for you to feel comfortable? Has anyone asked what would help? The consultation Reasonable adjustments such as a double-length consultation is a great way of ensuring people with learning disabilities have enough time to process information and are given time to answer questions. Extra time is only one of many reasonable adjustments that can be made. An example... I would like to reflect on a recent time when I cared for a patient with autism and I didn’t have all the information to enable me to plan care for them at this particular time. This patient had spinal surgery and spent a very brief period on the intensive care unit. As part of my role as a critical care outreach nurse, I see patients who have been in the intensive care unit to check that they are doing well, that ongoing plans of care are in place and that they understand what has happened to them. I read that this patient had autism, but I had no other information. I was unaware of how the autism affected her, if she needed a carer, what she likes, dislikes, how to approach conversations or anything that was important to her. There is a health passport that can be used to aid exactly this information, this is filled out by the patient with their family or carer. Unfortunately, I could not locate the passport. I read the medical notes and went in armed with my usual questions and proforma that we use for all patients. Usual visits like this last from around 10 minutes (for a quick check) to an hour if they are a complex long stay. With the operation that this patient had, I was expecting to be with the patient for around 20 minutes. After introducing myself to the patient, it was clear that the proforma I was going to use wasn’t going to work. Tick boxes and quick fire questions were not the right way of going about this consultation. This patient was scared. More scared than a patient without autism. Their usual routine was gone, they were unable to ask as many questions as they normally would as the nurses and doctors were busy, their surroundings were different, the food was different, new medications, new faces everyday – there was no consistency. The ward round had just happened, the patient had a good plan in place and was due to go home the following day. Normally, this would mean that my visit would be a quick one as the clinical needs of the patient are less complex. This visit took me 90 minutes. Not only did I not have the care passport to hand, due to the coronavirus pandemic I had a face mask on. I felt completely ill-equipped for this consultation. I knew I was missing vital pieces of information which would help me communicate with this patent more effectively. So much of our communication is from facial expressions. A smile for reassurance makes a huge difference. I now have yet another barrier to overcome to communicate with my patient in a way that they can understand and feel comfortable. This particular patient asked many questions. This I had not factored into my day. I have a list of 12 patients to see, in between answering calls from staff on wards who have unwell patients for me to review. It’s too late to abandon the consultation or leave it for a less busy time. I’m at the patient’s bedside and I’m already committed to giving this patient my full attention. After we spent around 20 minutes discussing why I had to wear a mask, what the mask was made of, how many I had to wear in a day, why patients were not wearing masks, we then got onto the subject of food. Where the food is made, how does it get here, who heats it up? Then it came to the other patients in the bay. She knew all of them by name and proceeded to tell me the goings on that happened during the night. I’m clearly not going to get my proforma completed here. This is because my proforma is not important to my patient. "What matters to you?" During my Darzi Fellowship I had the opportunity to visit the Royal Free. Here I met an amazing physiotherapist called Karen Turner. She introduced me to asking the question ‘What matters to you?’ Simple – but so very effective and empowering for your patient to be asked this. The food, my mask and the people around her were of greatest importance to my patient at this time – not what she thought of her stay or if she wanted me to go through the intensive care unit steps booklet; these were important for me to know, these were questions that gave the Trust insight of what is important to them. It dawned on me that we had designed our follow-up service to suit us and not involved families or the patient. I feel a quality improvement project coming on! Reasonable adjustments take planning, as clinicians we need to know about them. We need to factor them into our work. The NHS has just enough capacity to run if all patients followed the NHS pathways, if all patients grasped everything and followed all instructions, took their medications on time, turned up for their appointments – there wouldn’t be a problem. It takes me back to the clip from the BBC programme ‘Yes Minister’ of the fully functioning hospital with no patients and that services run very well without patients! Currently systems within the NHS are designed around the building, the staff within it and the targets that are set out by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. If we started designing care and access around patient need and ask them what would make it easier – what helps? what matters to you? – what would healthcare look like? During this time of uncertainty and change, I see exciting opportunities to take stock and see what’s working and what isn’t – and lets start involving patients at every stage. Call to action What are you doing to ensure reasonable adjustments are made for people with learning disabilities where you work? What more needs to be done to ensure that people with learning disabilities feel part of the conversation and play an active role in their care? Are you a patient, carer or relative? What has your experience been like? Have you any experiences in designing services with patients? Perhaps you are a patient and have been a part of the process. Add your comments below, start a conversation in the Community area or contact us. We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
  6. News Article
    Babylon Health is investigating whether NHS patients were among those affected by a 'software error' that allowed people registered with its private GP service to view recordings of other people's consultations earlier this month. Babylon Health has confirmed that a small number of patients were able to view recordings of other patients' consultations earlier this week. The issue came to light after a patient in Leeds who had access to the Babylon app through a private health insurance plan with Bupa reported that he had been able to view around 50 consultations that were not his own. The patient told the BBC he was 'shocked' to discover the data breach. "You don't expect to see anything like that when you're using a trusted app," he said. "It's shocking to see such a monumental error has been made." Babylon told GPonline that the app used by private and NHS patients is the same, but it had yet to confirm whether the roughly 80,000 patients registered with the company's digital first NHS service GP at Hand were among those affected. The problem is understood to have cropped up when a new feature was introduced for patients who switched from audio to video mid-way through a consultation. Read full story Source: GPOnline, 10 June 2020
  7. Content Article
    The document covers five key topics: when are video consultations appropriate? how can a practice get ready for them? how can clinicians conduct high-quality video consultations? what can patients do to prepare for and take part in them? what is the research evidence for their quality and safety?
  8. News Article
    Trainee oncologists at a major cancer centre covered clinics and made “critical” decisions without senior supervision, including for cancers they were not trained for, HSJ has revealed. A Health Education England (HEE) reviews aid: “The review team was concerned to hear that trainees were still expected to cover clinics where no consultant was present, including clinics relating to tumour sites that they were unfamiliar with.” Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust’s trainee clinical oncologists felt “they could only approach 50–75% of the consultants for critical decision-making”, the document said. The HEE “urgent concern review” report said: “The trainees also reported that there was a continued lack of clear consultant supervision for inpatient areas in clinical oncology, which meant that they were not able to access senior support for decision-making.” A trust spokesman said: “We recognise that senior support to the clinical team is a vital part of keeping our patients safe.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 16 January 2020
  9. News Article
    The NHS has launched a patient safety inquiry after a private contractor failed to send more than 28,000 pieces of confidential medical correspondence to GPs. NHS bosses are trying to find out if any patients have been harmed after 28,563 letters detailing discussions at outpatient appointments were not sent because of a mistake by Cerner, an IT company. The letters should have been sent by doctors at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals in north London to GPs after consultations with 22,144 patients between June last year and last month. However, a “clinical harm review” is under way after it was found they had not been dispatched. The incident has prompted concern among GPs and patient representatives. “Patients who have attended these two hospitals will now be very worried about whether their care might have been compromised by this IT bungle”, said Rachel Power, the chief executive of the Patients Association. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 February 2020
  10. Content Article
    Increased use of telephone and video consultations is expected during the current COVID-19 situation. In this video, the AccuRX (https://www.accurx.com/) system is being used. The system and process used by other practices may vary. A link to this video can be sent to a patient's phone by the surgery when a video appointment is booked so that they can prepare themselves for their video consultation.
  11. News Article
    The procurement of digital tools to support online primary care services during the coronavirus outbreak are to be fast-tracked for providers who don’t have the resources. In a letter sent to primary care providers and commissioners, GP surgeries were told to move to a triage-first model of care as soon as possible as the NHS bolsters its response to COVID-19. The letter, sent by medical director for primary care, Nikita Kanani, and director of primary care strategy and NHS contracts, Ed Waller, states practices and commissioners should promote online consultation services where they are in place or “rapidly procure” them. “Rapid procurement for those practices that do not currently have an online consultation solution will be supported through a national bundled procurement,” wrote in the letter. Read full story Source: Digital Health, 30 March 2020
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