‘Amazing teamwork’ sees patients with longest wait times reduce from 218 to almost none in just two months

A team in our theatres

Our teams have been working extremely hard to see patients whose treatment was delayed by the pandemic. They’ve reduced those waiting for more than two years (104+ weeks) from 218 at the start of May to just three. These remaining patients have chosen to delay for their own reasons.

Our teams got together to find innovative ways to ensure patients got the treatment they needed after a technical issue meant our waiting list increased by around 1,800 people, including 218 who’d waited more than two years.

One of the areas particularly affected was Gynaecology, which had around 90 patients waiting more than two years. Service manager Adrian Iuga explained the ways in which the team tackled this:

“We ran additional clinics during the week and at weekends. Many of our staff worked additional sessions, and we brought in doctors to help with the workload.

“We employed a temporary recovery manager to keep track of patients who’d had particularly long waits, to ensure we prioritised them. We also worked closely with our Radiology team so those who needed MRIs and ultrasound scans were seen quickly.

“It was taxing on staff doing additional hours and I was really impressed with what we achieved. We dramatically reduced patients waiting over 18 months to two years, however, we still have a long way to go to do the same for patients who have been waiting more than a year.”

Hanna Mitcalfe, our ultrasound manager, and her team were among those providing support to reduce our waiting lists. She said: “We work really well as a team so whenever there is a need, we’re always happy to work extra shifts, or stay late to do more scans.

“We carved out slots for more gynaecology clinics straight away, offered scans on weekends and when the team were running additional clinics, we’d work with them to get patients who needed scans booked onto our system within 24 hours. I don’t think we could have done it if we weren’t such a close team – we’re a bit like family. The key to getting these patients seen was absolutely down to teams working together and supporting each other.”

In our Neurosciences division, specialty manager Laura Bryan sent out a ‘call to arms’ to get everyone on board with doing everything possible to see patients quickly.

She said: “We had 39 patients who’d waited over two years, with neurology being the worst hit. It was a bit disheartening after we’d initially met our recovery target, however, I asked for volunteers and we were able to run extra clinics to see all these patients.

“In Neurosurgery we held a super clinic in May where we triaged 500 patients who had waited the longest, and we held nine additional clinics throughout June, seeing 120 more. Now our longest waiters have been seen we’re focusing on those who have waited over a year, it was at 500 and is already down to 350. It’s amazing how quick the team were to volunteer to do more, and the admin team worked around the clock to get everything ready for our extra clinics. It’s important to remember how instrumental our admin colleagues are in ensuring these go smoothly.

“Our patients have been really understanding, with many expressing their relief at being seen as they now feel reassured.”

While almost all patients facing the longest waits have now been seen, we still have many patients who have been waiting over a year. Our focus now is on using the same innovation and teamwork to get these patients seen as soon as we can.

Read more about the national recognition we’ve received for our work to reduce our waiting lists.

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