South Glos chosen to become an ‘accelerator site’ in NHS mission to tackle waiting lists

Bristol, North Somerset and South Glos will receive a share of £160 million in an NHS plan to test new ways of reducing the elective care waiting lists post Covid-19.

Over the next three months patients in our region will see initiatives such as a high-volume cataract service, one-stop testing facilities and greater access to specialist advice for GPs so patients can be seen and discharged closer to home.

New methods to tackle waiting lists for elective procedures include using virtual wards and home assessments, 3D eye scanners, at-home antibiotic kits and ‘pre-hab’ for patients about to undergo surgery. Also being trialled is Artificial Intelligence in GP surgeries (one example is automating GP referrals) to help with triage and ‘Super Saturday’ clinics – where multi-disciplinary teams come together at the weekend to offer more specialist appointments.

The NHS says elective activity was already at four-fifths of pre-pandemic levels in April 2021, well ahead of the 70% threshold set out in official guidance.

These procedures have resumed despite NHS staff still dealing with thousands of COVID patients, having to take additional steps such as infection control measures to keep patients safe and rolling out the largest vaccination programme in health service history.

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HW welcomes the news that BNSSG is one of 12 areas chosen as an Accelerator Site. We have heard a lot from local residents regarding waiting times for care and treatment and this funding will look at ways to speed up the process by considering different approaches and innovative solutions that will have a real impact on patients' access to treatment and quality of life. Local residents have been immensely understanding of the effects of the pandemic upon services and it is great to see their patience being rewarded with this initiative.
— HW South Glos Area Lead, Maisy Griffiths

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