‘Slow’ hospital service to get major revamp

INEFFICIENT hospital services dealing with chronic pain are to be revamped.

NHS Coastal West Sussex is working on drawing the musculoskeletal (MSK) services together under one new team.

Dr Su Stone told the Clinical Commissioning Group on Wednesday: “Our current MSK services, which include orthopaedics, rheumatology and chronic pain, are very slow and inefficient.

“Patients are not particularly happy with the service because of that.

“We need to integrate all the services together. Services have to wrap around the patient and then they have to fit our rather funky system. We are trying to empower patients.”

The aim is to provide higher-quality services, with less appointments, meaning savings can be made.

Dr Stone said a lot of work had been done on the project over the last two years, moving towards a new single point of access, the Triage Plus judgement system.

The aim would be to review all referral letters and redirect them as needed, to ensure patients saw the right clinical team, first time.

“If the patient starts their journey in the right place, it is going to be a cleaner, slicker process,” she added.

“To properly integrate these services we are going to have to bring it all together under one team.”

The MSK hub will be a central out-patient team, with a single team of people working in multiple locations.

“Hopefully there will be less travelling distance for those people who currently have a long way to go,” said Dr Stone.

“We want to ensure the services are offered as close to home as possible.”

Patient focus groups will be starting in the coming weeks to discuss the specifics, working towards awarding a contract next July and the service going live next October.

Programme manager Jilly Alexander said: “We have gone through a robust decision process. We know what outcomes we want.”

Questioned by lay member Chris Moore why the process was taking so long, Dr Stone said: “If you have got something this broken, it is going to take time to fix it.”

The group was told there would be a single contract but not necessarily a single provider.

The vision is to have a team dealing with all aspects of MSK services, all working together in one location on a set day, then moving on to cover all the areas over a period of time.