Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust’s innovative virtual fracture clinic is proving a big success – cutting the number of times injured patients have had to come into hospital for an appointment and saving more than half a million pounds in two years.
Since launching in 2013, the clinic has managed over 8,500 patients, with specialist physiotherapists assessing X-rays online to make a decision on the next steps of care.
The clinic has meant patients who were treated in A&E with a broken bone no longer have to come to hospital for face-to-face assessment. As well as the benefits to patient care, the clinic has also saved the Trust £558,000.
Specialist physiotherapist Lucy Arnott said: “For simple fractures, we are able to offer phone advice about rehabilitation and email over specific videos and information to help with the patient’s recovery.
“For those with more complicated problems who have to come in again, we can make sure they get a specific appointment with the right specialist or physiotherapist.
“This cuts right down the number of times patients have to come in and is making a real difference.
“We developed the project as a way of improving patient care but it has also had the added benefit of cutting down on costs.
“The basic cost of a new patient attending the fracture clinic is about £128 but the cost for a virtual clinic is just £64. It has been working out really well and everyone is benefitting.”
Over a one year period, just 36 per cent of patients referred to the virtual fracture clinic needed a follow up appointment with a consultant and six per cent needed a specialist physiotherapist.