December 8 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 6, 2013
Fracture patients are set to benefit from fewer visits to hospital, shorter waiting times and an improved service after West Suffolk Hospital became the first trust in the country to pilot a new “virtual” clinic.
The scheme, which will be trialled for three months, will see patients who would usually come into the hospital for a check-up or assessment reviewed remotely by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and specialist nurse in a virtual fracture clinic.
The clinicians will look at the patient’s x-rays and notes before telephoning them to discuss their case and treatment.
Some will be discharged by phone, whereas anyone who requires further specialist help will be referred to the most appropriate clinic to meet their needs.
The virtual clinic, at the hospital in Bury St Edmunds, has been designed to reduce waiting times and the number of visits patients need to make to the hospital, in turn offering added convenience and a better patient experience.
West Suffolk is the first hospital in England to pilot the virtual clinic, which has been successfully trialled in Glasgow.
Sue Deakin, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the West Suffolk, said: “The aim of the virtual clinic is to achieve confirmation of diagnosis and a treatment plan without the patient having to visit the hospital as frequently.
“This is good news for our patients and their relatives and friends, as people with fractures are often in a lot of pain and have to rely on someone else to take time off work to bring them to the hospital.
“All fracture patients are seen routinely a few days after coming to the emergency department, but many are discharged during that first visit.
By assessing them in the virtual clinic, we will be able to identify the best course of treatment for them so that the visits they do need to make to West Suffolk are less frequent but more effective.
“We are delighted to be the first hospital in the country to pilot this innovative virtual clinic and hope that it improves the experience our patients have while receiving care for a fracture.”
During the pilot, three virtual fracture clinics will run each week in addition to the traditional face-to-face clinics.