Transforming outpatient services for patients
The NHS is changing how we deliver outpatient services so that patients can be seen more quickly and can access and interact with our services in a way that better suits their lives.
This means giving patients and their carers more control and greater choice over how and when they access care. We are empowering patients to book their own follow-up care as and when they need it, providing the option of telephone or video consultations where appropriate, and working with GPs to enable access to earlier expert advice.
Implementing these interventions, as well as taking steps to address reasons patients might miss their scheduled appointments, helps us to deliver a more personalised model of outpatient care whilst also supporting elective recovery.
Transforming care in this way is a key commitment set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and is key to achieving the aims of personalising outpatients as set out in the Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care. Guidance on the principles and approach to delivering a personalised outpatient model is available.
The ‘Action on outpatients’ series is designed to support providers and systems to focus on implementing outpatient recovery and transformation interventions, building on existing efforts.
To build on progress to date and to set a clear vision for the future of outpatient services, we, together with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) are developing a new outpatients strategy. Find out more in this blog by Vin Diwaker. We are keen to hear ideas from those who deliver services and those who will be impacted by any changes, please share your ideas on the outpatients strategy page on the RCP Medical Care website.
We’re also making it easier for providers to have access to additional clinical support so that patients don’t need to wait as long for their outpatient appointments. NHS Emeritus Consultants, an online platform, matches consultants to patients waiting for an appointment, enabling retired specialists to support elective recovery efforts.
A range of additional support materials are available on the Outpatient Recovery and Transformation FutureNHS workspace. Guidance highlighting actions that services can take to tackle the growing demand for outpatient appointments, developed in partnership with Getting It Right First Time, is available on the Getting It Right First Time website.
Find out more about outpatient recovery and transformation interventions below.