NHS Isle of Wight has substantially reduced waiting times for Islanders over the summer months.
Recognising that Islanders were waiting too long for operations, managers at the Primary Care Trust took action and the number of patients waiting over 18 weeks for inpatient treatment has fallen from 701 to 183 (16th April to 25th October). The PCT is on course to make further reductions so that everyone waiting for inpatient treatment is treated within 18 weeks.
NHS Isle of Wight looked at a number of options for reducing the waiting list. These included reviewing referral arrangements with GPs, extra sessions from NHS Isle of Wight staff who worked later into the evening and at weekends, and some external support. The external support was provided by Medinet. Their NHS surgical consultants and staff work for Medinet in their spare time and the work undertaken by Medinet is done at NHS tariff rates. This means that NHS Isle of Wight paid no more to Medinet than the rate that would have been paid had patients attended hospitals off the Island, for example at Southampton or Portsmouth. Having their operation done at St. Mary’s was much more convenient for patients.
“Our partnership with Medinet is just one of the many innovative ways in which we provide health services for Islanders;” says Karen Baker, Chief Operating Officer at NHS Isle of Wight. “For example renal services on the Island are provided by Portsmouth Hospitals; our Audiology Department is also managed and provided by staff from Portsmouth Hospitals. In the last year we have recruited three ENT consultants who are employed by NHS Isle of Wight but also work at Portsmouth Hospitals. We also have strong links with hospitals in Southampton for paediatric care, neurology and oncology as well as specialist services elsewhere.
“Our staff have worked in partnership with the NHS staff provided by Medinet and the feedback from patients has been really good. Our problem was historical – hospitals become very busy during the winter period due to a natural increase in the number of people needing to be admitted to hospital in an emergency. This is due to a number of reasons including a seasonal increase in viruses and flu like illnesses and slips, trips and falls due to the colder weather. Extra pressure was put on St. Mary’s last winter and Islanders will recall that some non-urgent planned procedures had to be cancelled.
Medinet works alongside the NHS to guarantee that waiting time targets are met by supporting and providing additional capacity. They have worked with NHS Trusts all over the country and have successfully treated in excess of 80,000 patients across the country.
The national standard is for all patients to receive treatment within 18 weeks. Whilst 99 per cent of non-admitted patients on the Island are seen and treated within 18 weeks, in April 2010 only 71 per cent of admitted patients were treated within the same timescale. Karen Baker, Chief Operating Officer at NHS lsle of Wight says: “We have reduced the number of patients waiting over 18 weeks for inpatient treatment by 518 – a 21 per cent reduction in our waiting list. Ninety per cent of patients requiring admission are now treated within 17 weeks or less. This is an incredible achievement and is down to a lot of hard work on the part of GPs and our staff – to whom I want to say a big thank you – and the additional support we brought in to increase our capacity to clear the backlog of operations.
“Working with Medinet we have increased the number of surgical procedures in areas such as urology and maxillofacial (complex dental) over recent months and this has reduced our waiting lists which is good for patients. The additional capacity has also meant that patients have been at less risk of having their procedure cancelled or re-arranged due to emergency admissions.
“Whilst the significant part of Medinet’s work with St. Mary’s is coming to an end as the number of patients waiting over 18 weeks has dwindled we anticipate Medinet continuing their involvement with Dermatology. We have a single handed consultant in this specialty and Medinet are helping to ensure that we can provide a robust service which meets the needs of patients and is not just reliant on one individual.”
Notes for Editors
1. For further information about NHS Isle of Wight please contact their communications team on 01983-552003. Further information about health services can be found at www.iow.nhs.uk or www.nhs.uk.
2. Medinet works closely with over 500 consultants, nursing and clinical support staff across the country. They also have a network of private hospitals which we can offer immediate treatment to patients. Further information about Medinet can be found at www.ukmedinet.com.