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Northamptonshire ICS shares update on Elective Care Collaborative

Northamptonshire ICS has shared an update on their work to develop the Integrated Care Northamptonshire Elective Care Collaborative, bringing together the organisations involved in planning care with the aim of improving health outcomes through working together in a patient-centred approach.

This will be achieved through transforming service delivery to focus on supporting patients on keeping well at home or close to where they live, along with providing focus where needed on ensuring equitable access to ensure timely treatments.

One of the ways in which they have worked together as a system to manage waiting times for their population is through investing in digital transformation through the national NHS Targeted Investment Fund, with the aim of speeding up and improving elective care processes. To date, developments include an outpatient management system, increased digital patient communication, a waiting list management tool and digital platforms for patient consent and pre-operative assessment.

The ICS has made use of medical technologies including the SecurAcath system for securing catheters, the Greenlight laser to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate, and placental growth testing to help rule out pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.

In addition, the ICS has installed a surgical robot at Northampton General Hospital to support cancer surgery. Use of the robot means that patients in Northamptonshire can undergo complex cancer surgery without having to make multiple journeys to hospitals in Leicester for treatment.

This month, a dedicated cardiac MRI machine is to be opened at Kettering General Hospital with the aim of improving speed and quality of diagnosis for a range of heart problems.

Other efforts to tackle the waitlist include the ICS promoting team working across the whole system, working across organisational boundaries to maximise combined resources; a committed focus on clinical validation to ensure up-to-date records of patient conditions and the opportunity to remove duplication and check if patients still wish to be on the waitlist; and signing up to the Getting It Right First Time High Volume Low Complexity programme, aimed at rolling out best practice pathways in specific areas.

Polly Grimmett, Senior Responsible Officer for Integrated Care Northamptonshire’s developing Elective Care Collaborative, recognised the challenges lying ahead and said: “We are working to ‘ring fence elective capacity where possible to ensure those with the highest clinical need can continue to be treated. We have challenges with the number of vacancies we have in certain areas and are working with colleagues to showcase the great work and career options available to clinical staff in Northamptonshire.”

“These challenges mean it’s more important than ever to work together as health and care organisations across our county and engage patients and colleagues in designing and improving services. The Elective Care Collaborative will support this, and we are excited about some of the future opportunities we will be delivering including a digital platform that will give us a detailed overview of the whole waiting list for Northamptonshire, Community Diagnostic Centres which will increase capacity for diagnostic tests in Northamptonshire and delivery of improvements to the treatment pathway for those who need cardiac care.”