Virtual wards, at-home antibiotic kits and using artificial intelligence in GP surgeries are among new initiatives to be trialled as part £160m funding to tackle waiting lists in the NHS.
NHS England announced the funding to aid in the health service’s recovery after the pandemic, after figures last month revealed the number of people waiting to begin hospital treatment in England had risen to a new record.
A total of 4.7 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February - the highest figure since records began in August 2007. But NHS England said indicators suggest operations and other elective activity were at four-fifths of pre-pandemic levels in April, which is "well ahead" of the 70% threshold set out in official guidance.
It said it is working to speed up the health service's recovery by trialling new ways of working in 12 areas and five specialist children's hospitals.
The so-called "elective accelerators" will each get some of the £160m as well as extra support for new ways to increase the number of elective operations, NHS England said.
Tens of thousands of patients in the trial areas will be part of initiatives including a high-volume cataract service, one-stop testing facilities and pop-up clinics to allow patients to be seen and discharged closer to home.
Other trials over the next three months include virtual wards and home assessments, 3D eye scanners, at-home antibiotic kits, "pre-hab" for patients ahead of surgery, artificial intelligence in GP surgeries and so-called "Super Saturday" clinics, bringing multi-disciplinary teams together at the weekend to offer more specialist appointments.
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Source: The Independent,