does that involve travelling long distances to hospitals to be
Patient Choice audit
There’s an NHS waiting list crisis. It’s a key priority for the Government, so it recently launched Patient Choice. Patients can choose a referral from their GP to any hospital in the country – based on waiting time, distance and quality.
What we found
We looked at 2 patients that needed GP referrals, one for ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) and the other for rheumatology.
We made a list of choices that were available for each speciality and grouped them into distances from where patients lived. There were 4 groups; under 15 miles, 16-30 miles, 31-45 miles and over 45 miles.
We listed the wait times for treatment for each of these groups. Under 18 weeks was green, 19-29 weeks was amber and over 30 weeks was red.
The results were surprising.
Ear Nose & Throat referrals
The theory that if patients were to travel across the country, they would be seen sooner, doesn’t appear to stack up, according to our initial findings. There appear to be similar waits for hospitals within 15 miles and those over 45 miles away. This is promising, as it allows patients to have investigations and follow ups at the hospital that is not too far away. It seems perhaps that the distribution of demand and the increased capacity is resulting in people not having to wait too long at hospitals near their homes.
One of the challenges is that the initial referral in general practice is quite time consuming. However, this is offset by a reduction in admin time in chasing up, amending or cancelling referrals, as patients can do this for themselves. One of the other challenges, however, is that different hospitals have different referral criteria such as fertility.
Our next step is to identify specialities which have similar referral criteria for common conditions and support patients to choose.
Some of the things we have done….
NHS waiting list audit
Inter-professional education and training
How to do an NHS patient survey
Behaviour change in primary care
NHS Innovation labs
Hiyos Helpers – NHS volunteering
Patient survey during pandemic
Where should we move to?