In June 2016, NHS England launched a new programme to test ways of improving patient experience of, and speeding up access to, elective care by better managing demand for these services.
As one of a number of measures to improve the relationship between primary and secondary care, the Elective Care Rapid Testing (ECRT) programme will systematically trial:
- how, as set out in the General Practice Forward View, better support for primary care – for example, specialist consultant hotlines and advice – can improve referral accuracy, reducing the potential for patients to have multiple hospital appointments before finding the right service;
- how better use of technology – for example virtual follow-up appointments – and putting patients in the driving seat can reduce the need for people to attend unnecessary outpatient appointments, and;
- how increasing the use of shared decision-making – where professionals and patients discuss options and preferences for different treatments and providers – can improve patient experience, choice and outcomes.
Over the coming weeks, two New Care Model Vanguards – Stockport Together, and Harrogate and Rural District, What matters to us – will each devise their own clinically-led action plans.
These plans will set a 100 day challenge, during which innovative approaches will be trialled and evaluated.
Learning from these challenges will then be codified, enabling other NHS commissioners and providers to adopt and adapt lessons from these initial sites.