First Author: S.Saad UK
Co Author(s): I. Elaraoud
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Currently, the NHS has to cope with ever-increasing demands, irrespective of specialty. Patient-flow, particularly in out-patient departments, is key to maximising efficiency. To evaluate patient flow in a medical retina clinic from arrival to the clinician’s consultation to assess where improvements could be introduced.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.
The evaluation included 93 consecutive patients, over a period of 2 weeks. Patients where flagged up on arrival to the waiting room. Subsequently, the time spent waiting to see the nurse; to undergo investigations (O.C.T) and to see a clinician were recorded on a spread sheet, respectively.
Patients spent just under an hour in the waiting room. On average they waited 18 and 25 minutes to be seen by the nurse and doctor respectively. There was also clustering, arrivals between 9:30 and 11am taking a particularly long time to be seen, some waiting over an hour. Indeed, even in quieter clinics patients were often left waiting to see a doctor, while those arriving later saw the nurse, had investigations conducted and entered their own consultations.
There are substantial deficiencies within the NHS with patients often waiting for significantly prolonged periods, particularly in ophthalmology out-patients. Areas to explore include appointment intervals, one-way flow systems and ophthalmologist/nursing staff/imaging technician ratios. The patient journey must be optimised, to ensure efficiency, and best resource use.