Leicestershire Health Bosses Want Virtual Doctors' Appointments To Be The New Normal

  Posted: 01.09.20 at 16:40 by By Amy Orton

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Virtual appointments will be the new normal for 70 per cent of outpatients if Leicestershire health bosses meet a target set as part of plans to build on changes made to local services during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Health chiefs want to see the majority of outpatient appointments, including initial assessments and follow-ups, take place either via video or phone call by the end of this year.

The target is one on a list of 10 key expectations drawn up by health and hospital chiefs to build on adaptations made to keep services up and running during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bosses say that they will ensure there is an alternative for those who can’t access virtual appointments.

In a report that will go before University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust’s (UHL) board on Thursday, director of strategy for the trust, Mark Wightman outlines the plans.

“In recent weeks as partners in the LLR health and social care system have turned our collective attention to restoration and recovery from the first pandemic peak there has been a strong desire that the innovation, improvement and lessons learned across the system are captured and used for the longer term benefit of patients, public, staff and our organisations,” he writes.

“It is important to note that from the outset system colleagues have been keen to ensure that the expectations are meaningful, that is to say, more than just well‐intentioned hopes and aspirations.

“Hence we have worked hard with partners to ascribe specific, measurable, attainable and timely actions to each high-level expectation.”

The list has been drawn up by the System Strategic Recovery Group (made up of senior representatives from each organisation in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland) in partnership with clinical staff.

The ten targets are:

1. Safety first approach – which will see the system ‘reduce infection hazard for patients and staff’
2, Equitable care for all – focusing on health inequalities and the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities
3. Involve our patients and public – an aim to ‘improve patient involvement’
4. Have a virtual by default approach – putting remote consultations at the ‘front-end’ of all care
5. Arrange care in local settings – promoting a ‘shift away from hospitals’
6. Provide excellent care – a push to ‘standardise clinical care’
7. Enhanced care in the community – includes aim to ‘improve offer to care homes’
8. Have an enabling culture – which will see the system develop opportunities for staff
9. Drive technology, innovation and sustainability – including a plan to secure the service’s finances
10. Work as one system with a system workforce – which states that services will form an ‘integrated care system’ by March, 2021

UHL’s board will discuss the targets as well as providing an update on coronavirus on Thursday.

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