A new clinic to speed up patient access to orthopaedic services has been introduced by the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT).
Because of demand, fracture clinics at the RBFT were overbooked, with long waits to be seen on the day, leading to poor patient experiences. A visit to Glasgow by staff from the Trauma and Orthopaedic Outpatient clinics led to a pilot being introduced in the Trust.
At the end of the pilot, a review of the service was undertaken and the service refined, and the updated Virtual Fracture Clinic expanded to incorporate the regular Minor Injuries Units at West Berkshire Community Hospital and Townlands. It was introduced in the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Emergency Department in March 2015.
Referrals received are reviewed by an Orthopaedic Consultant the next working day after the injury has been presented. The result of this radical change in fracture management has had a big impact on the traditional fracture clinics. Fewer patients are being seen in clinic as patients are discharged following a telephone and radiology review, with injury-specific advice. Patients are booked into the appropriate clinics (including specialty clinics) and in appropriate time frames. Patients are now reviewed quickly and effectively by an Orthopaedic consultant; treatment plans are communicated within a few hours of the decision being made and a dedicated help line for concerns has been introduced.
When patients do need to be seen in clinic, they are seen by a site specific team who have a greater understanding of their condition and they no longer have unnecessary journeys to hospital. Patient feedback was swift and positive.
One patient called the team and left a message on the answerphone. She said: “I just really wanted to feedback that service provided at Newbury Minor Injuries Unit last week was excellent as was the follow-up for the virtual fracture clinic. I just thought I would feedback that it’s a really good system, so thank you very much.”
The VFC service won the Clinical Achievement award at the Trust Staff Excellence Awards in 2015 and the future holds more development opportunities to take this service further. A formal patient feedback process will be introduced this year to assess patient satisfaction and shape the service further.
1 February 2016