Virtual clinic success

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A new state of the art virtual fracture clinic at Basildon Hospital has cut patients wait time from ten days to just three.

This means patients avoid unnecessary appointments to hospital and speeds up care at the orthopaedic surgical department.

The new service has also reduced the need for extra fracture clinics saving the department £150,000.

The opening of the virtual clinic last September means that there is no longer a need for some patients to attend outpatient clinics.

Following an assessment of notes and X-rays, patients can be phoned back with a treatment plan and supported to manage their condition at home.

Travel

It also means patients don’t have to travel unnecessarily to the hospital right away and time is freed up for the team to see those patients that do need to attend for an appointment much quicker.

Recent patient Lisa Horrell said: “I live in Purfleet and its been a god send for me. Traffic is very busy trying to get to Basildon Hospital from Thurrock these days.

“The nurses were really helpful and if I had any concerns then I just contacted one of them.”

Mr Ravi Ray, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Basildon started this project after seeing how Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge run their clinics.

He worked on the virtual clinic idea for two years before it opened and the clinic now runs five days a week.

The aim of the virtual clinic is to get patients with the most common minor injuries treated quickly and avoid outpatient appointments.

A consultant will assess the patient and if happy that patient can recover by managing their condition at home with guidance.

A nurse then relays the consultant’s decisions to the patient and are authorised to bring the patient back in if they’re worried so there is no delay.

The consultant led clinics assess 40 patients in one morning. Before the virtual clinic all forty of those patients would have had to come in.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Basildon Hospital, Mr Ravi Ray said: “I’m excited about this project – is it my baby! It has taken some time and effort to develop but it has been worth it and we can already see huge benefits. The patients get the right treatment earlier so this clinic is far more productive.

“Now we know the common injuries that don’t need medical support but do need a plaster cast, splint or some immobilisation we can triage patients into the right clinics.

“We have dropped the need for extra fracture clinics and in that we’ve saved £150,000 in this department. The team ethos made this project a winner – couldn’t have done this without them.”

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