Trusts and Health Boards across the UK are facing a myriad of challenges to sustaining elective care capacity with growing waiting lists because of the pandemic. This has placed significant demand on local teams to find additional clinical capacity to treat the most urgent and longest waiting patients. Hospitals particularly feel this in the need to source additional Endoscopy capacity.
Endoscopies are the primary tool used in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer (also known as bowel and intestinal cancer) – which is one of the most prevalent and deadly forms of cancer in the UK today, accounting for 11% of all new cancer cases.
According to a recent analysis of data from 125 NHS England Trusts carried out by University College London, one of the areas which requires urgent attention is endoscopy procedures. A backlog of almost half a million colonoscopies, flexible sigmoidoscopies and gastroscopies has accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic. Resulting in significant delays in the diagnosis and prompt treatment of a range of serious conditions.
Many hospitals have the physical estate but have struggled to supply the additional endoscopy lists citing pressures in their own in-house capacity leading to gaps in theatre utilisation.
NHS trusts and Health Boards are seeking new ways to mobilise clinical support, increase coordination and boost capacity – all with the goal of not only bringing down the backlog but enhancing care delivery with many turning to Medinet to provide the additional Endoscopy capacity required. This is particularly true for one Foundation Trust in West Yorkshire who sought support.
Starting in July 2021, Medinet have provided a fully managed service to provide insourced substantive NHS teams delivering Endoscopy procedures to increase theatre utilisation and patient throughput. Delivering 24 points per room and across weekends and within 3-6 theatres, we have provided full Endoscopy teams that included an NHS Substantive Consultant, 4 Endoscopy Competent nurses per consultant and a Supernumerary Lead Nurse as well as Decontamination staff.
The Medinet team has worked within the existing hospital following all local pathways, adhering to Trust policies, and working on local systems with IT access arranged in advance of the first session. Not only was this service mobilised within a short timeframe and worked to all local Covid-19 protocols, but this also enabled patients to be treated in their local hospital and ensured a single patient record.
Multidisciplinary teams from both the Trust and Medinet engaged from the start to ensure that clinical, governance and operational capabilities not only matched but were also aligned to the needs of the Trust.
We have held regular weekly calls in addition to direct ad hoc links across clinical, ops and commercial teams as required have enabled a partnership approach with all key stakeholders (clinical, governance, ops and commercial) from both Trust and Medinet.
Here we have been able to jointly review previous week delivery, address any barriers to success (i.e. IT access, timely consultant team orientation, equipment prep etc.) and agree actions, next steps and plan for forthcoming week(s). This has enabled us to not only understand more clearly, but also to align more effectively with Trust pathways in order to deliver a safe, efficient and valuable service with the patient at the heart of every decision.
The development of a working partnership has enabled us to react to ad hoc needs of the service, providing quick response to requests for additional consultants, as well as additional decontamination staff to cover unplanned / last minute absence and staff shortfall in the trust ensuring continuation of an effective service.