Stockport Together launches innovative programme to improve efficiency

After being selected in March 2016 as one of two sites in the country to work with NHS England on a new programme, Stockport Together formally kicked off a process to improve patient experience this Wednesday and Thursday (8th and 9th June) at a two-day launch event.

The 'Elective Care Rapid Testing Programme’ looks at patients’ current experiences of the elective care system and how to speed up access to services by better managing demand. Elective care refers to routine care, which can be planned or booked following a referral from a GP or outpatient clinic.

Stockport is the first in the country to launch the programme, which is one of a number of measures being considered to improve the relationship between primary and secondary care. Harrogate and Rural District launched a programme the following week (14th June).

The programme will consider:

  • How better support for primary care, such as specialist consultant hotlines and advice, can improve referral accuracy and reduce the potential for patients to have multiple hospital appointments before finding the right service;
  • How better use of technology, including virtual follow-up appointments, and putting patients in the driving seat can reduce the need for people to attend unnecessary outpatient appointments, and;
  • How increasing the use of shared decision-making, where professionals and patients discuss options and preferences for different treatments and providers, can improve patient experience, choice and outcomes.

The two-day launch event on Wednesday and Thursday was opened by Dr Cath Briggs, a GP in Stockport’s Bracondale Medical Centre, who commented: “The great thing about this programme is that it gives us a real opportunity to do something different, something fast and something together.

“The way we’ve worked in the past has been to implement changes in little pockets, for example within the hospital or general practice. Very rarely have we had such a brilliant opportunity to bring everyone together to focus on making a change that will make such a difference across the health economy.”

The Stockport Together team will now work on a 100 day challenge, during which innovative approaches will be trialled and evaluated.

The learning from these challenges will then be shared, enabling other NHS commissioners and providers to adopt any outcomes and lessons from these initial sites.

Stockport Together is a partnership between the Clinical Commissioning Group (the organisation which buys health services for the people of Stockport), Stockport NHS Foundation Trust (Stepping Hill Hospital and community health services), the Council, Pennine Care (Stockport’s mental health provider) and Viaduct Health (the borough’s GP federation).

Stockport Together, which was selected as a Vanguard site in 2015, is working to reform the way that health and social care services are delivered in Stockport. This activity forms the basis of the locality plan for Stockport, as part of the Greater Manchester Devolution programme.

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