Planned Care and Cancer update from Duncan Bedford, Programme Director
In our last update, we talked about high impact initiatives that have been identified as areas where change can be delivered quickly.
We previously spoke about how we are working to achieve a reduction in unnecessary outpatient appointments and follow ups at local NHS service providers.
For this update, we wanted to focus on the work we are doing as a programme on Gastroenterology.
Gastroenterology is a medical speciality which focuses on the digestive system and includes the study, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract. These may affect the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, small and large intestine, rectum, liver, gallbladder or pancreas.
Within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, our workforce have been struggling to meet the demand for this speciality service. We’ve been working to identify a number of initiatives to benefit both patients and staff whilst also helping to reduce waiting times.
We are working on developing a Clinical Assessment Service for all Gastroenterology referrals that is delivered by Gastro Consultants and provides advice and guidance to staff working in primary care services, with the aim of reducing unnecessary hospital attendances.
This will be supported by diagnostic tests available in primary care that are less invasive than traditional procedures; for example, the Enhanced Liver Fibrosis blood test for Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
We will be particularly focussing on preventative interventions, such as Gall Bladder Disease to ensure appropriate services are in place in a timely manner to reduce the number of people having to attend A&E whilst waiting for treatment.
By working in a smarter and more efficient way, this will lead to a reduction in the number of hospital visits for patients, release more capacity into the system and help to improve waiting times.
It also means patients will be seen and treated in a timely manner and are not unnecessarily in pain for long periods of time before receiving their procedure when required.