Virtual clinic to improve patient care for fractures

AN INNOVATIVE new Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC) has been introduced at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a bid to reduce outpatient appointments.

The virtual fracture clinic team

The new clinic which comprises a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Virtual Fracture Clinic Nurse and Administrative Support will significantly help cut the number of times patients have to attend a traditional fracture clinic.
Under the new approach, hospital patients with acute injuries will initially be seen in A&E and advised they will be assessed in the Virtual Fracture Clinic within a couple of days. Each case is then assessed by a ‘Consultant of the Week’ and the patient’s care pathway is developed from there.

Patients will then receive telephone advice from the VFC team who offer guidance on the next steps for recovery. Follow-up advice on care management is sent to each patient via email or post. Additional patient advice and guidance videos will also be available on the Surrey iMSK website

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his Senior Clinical Advisor, Professor Sir Norman Williams visited Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals to discuss patient safety with around 40 members of staff.

Trust Medical Director, Dr David Fluck, explained: “Since introducing our ‘4 Ps’ – Patients First, Personal Responsibility, Passion for Excellence and Pride in our Team – around eight years ago we’ve been on a journey to improve patient safety. Key to that is enabling the right culture at our hospitals – one of openness, transparency and mutual support – where colleagues feel able to raise concerns, report incidents and share learning from mistakes.

“We’ve made some great progress with this and I was pleased to share some examples with Jeremy – including our work to improve the early identification and treatment of sepsis and to reduce the number of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. However, we are not complacent and know there is always more to do.”

Jeremy Hunt went on to share his own journey, experiences and reflections on patient safety. He described the stories of some patients and their families which had really struck a chord, leading him to make patient safety one of his biggest priorities.

Mr Hunt said: “I was impressed by the work to create a culture of openness where staff are supported to speak up, helping to achieve our ambition of making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.”

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