latest health care news

24.04.18

Traffic light system could reduce hospital waiting times

A pilot system is making it easier for GPs to understand the hospital waiting times experienced by their patients.

The e-traffic light system could help to reduce hospital waiting times and offer patients a clearer choice of treatment, NHS England has said.

The trial from the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) saw a modification to the GP referral system, with a red light appearing against a hospital with longer waiting times and a green light against those with spare capacity.

This Capacity Alert System means that GPs can offer patients a potentially quicker route to treatment and help them to make more informed choices.

Two London trials have been carried out and NHS England says that the results have been promising, with referrals to overbooked hospitals reduced by almost 40%.

Green lights increased referrals to hospitals with available capacity by 14% this winter.

The system was developed after NHS England commissioned BIT to develop ways of helping hospital trusts to ease pressure on services.

Following the success of the trials in north east and south west London, BIT is supporting the roll out of the system across the NHS in England.

Matthew Swindells, NHS England director for operations and information, said: “This system makes it even easier for GPs and patients to understand hospital waiting times which will in turn see benefits for patients and hospitals.

“The Capacity Alert system is a good example of how smarter working and relatively simple innovations can lead to another big improvement in NHS services.”

BIT will hold a series of masterclasses and workshops across the country to help with the roll out.

Hannah Burd, senior advisor at BIT, explained: “It’s in all our interests that patients and GPs have the most up to date information about their options when deciding where to go for care. This simple and cheap intervention supports these conversations and helps the referrals system to run more efficiently.”

Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, added: “Sometimes the most simple-sounding ideas are the most effective, and this scheme appears to be a relatively straightforward way of improving the interface between primary and secondary care, in order to make our patients’ journey through the NHS as seamless as possible.

“We look forward to seeing how this idea translates to other areas of the country in the best interests of patients and the wider NHS.”

Top image: ktsimage

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on env... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospital... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

System working in an uncertain world

09/05/2019System working in an uncertain world

What, exactly, is an integrated care system? Well, it’s unclear, writes Kacey Cogle, policy advisor at NHS Providers. On the NHS England website, integrated care sy... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >