Manx Care is making progress with its plans to reduce its waiting lists across a number of clinical specialisms.
By the end of February, it will have cleared its Endoscopy waiting list thanks to the focused delivery of an initiative to deliver procedures across weekend periods, utilising surplus theatre capacity. Between November 2021 and the end of February 2022, around 550 patients will have been seen by the team at Noble’s Hospital, following a collaboration between the Endoscopy Team, Consultants, Nursing Team, Healthcare Assistants, Laboratory Team, Decontamination Team, Housekeeping Team, Pre-Assessment Team and Central Booking Team colleagues to deliver this activity at pace. Recovery in the Endoscopy specialism was further expedited following the change made in November 2021 to allow patients to perform a Lateral Flow Test before admission to hospital for a procedure instead of them requiring a Covid-19 PCR test, followed by 72-hour isolation pre-admission.
In addition, Manx Care is holding advanced talks with a number of healthcare providers who it intends will see and treat some patients on its behalf as part of the restoration and recovery programme. It's important to clarify that any work which is carried out by partner healthcare providers on behalf of Manx Care as part of its elective restoration and recovery programme will not replace the delivery of activity at either Noble's Hospital or Ramsey District Cottage Hospital – instead, this activity will supplement the existing activity being performed at both locations, increasing its capacity to see and treat patients and thus work to reduce waiting lists quicker.
Even before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, healthcare waiting lists on the Isle of Man were lengthy, and with no clear plan in place to focus on reducing these. This was only exacerbated further by the pandemic. When Manx Care came into existence on 01 April 2021, it made a commitment to reduce waiting lists across a number of clinical specialities. Utilising the support of a number of experienced healthcare providers to deliver a combination of both virtual consultations and treatment across some specialities will help the organisation to achieve this whilst also allowing Manx Care to transform the way that its services are delivered so that it can build a sustainable infrastructure that will future-proof the health and social care needs of the Island’s population moving forward.
This approach is being employed across the UK, where NHS Trusts are using a number of private healthcare providers to supplement their own individual capacity following the provision of an additional £5.4 billion of funding by England’s Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, specifically to tackle waiting lists as part of its Covid-19 restoration and recovery programme.
As highlighted in July 2021, Medefer will deliver virtual outpatient appointments across a number of individual specialities including Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Respiratory Medicine, Pain Management, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), Neurology, urgent Dermatology referrals and some Orthopaedic activity. This activity will begin imminently. Patients who are eligible to have their consultations delivered virtually will be proactively contacted by Manx Care in the coming weeks and offered the choice of seeing a Medefer specialist to expedite their treatment rather than remaining on the waiting list to see a Manx Care specialist. Patient referrals will typically be reviewed within two working days by Medefer once they have been passed to the team there. In doing so, patients can expect faster access to care. Members of the public should be aware that not every individual patient on the waiting lists across these specialisms will be suitable to have their assessments delivered virtually.
Alongside this, plans are at an advanced stage with regard to the delivery of some cataract pre-operative assessments and procedures, and for the delivery of psychological therapy activity for a number of patients waiting for mental health treatment. Further details on both of these key recovery programmes will follow in due course once full details have been finalised.
Finally, options have been explored for the provision of a number of orthopaedic assessments and operations for patients waiting for joint procedures. Options are being considered for the provision of treatment at Noble's Hospital and at a private facility in the UK. Further information will be shared on this as plans progress.
There is no need for patients to contact Manx Care – the organisation will proactively contact patients who may be suitable to see a Medefer specialist to offer them this option, as well as those who are waiting for psychological therapy treatment, cataract assessment or orthopaedic surgery. Further details will be released on these programmes in due course. It’s incredibly important that members of the public please support Manx Care’s request for them not to contact the organisation in the coming days querying when their appointment will be following this update – a sudden influx of calls will prevent the team working to finalise the details of this activity from being able to do so at pace.
Teresa Cope, CEO of Manx Care, commented:
“Reducing waiting lists is a key focus for Manx Care. We made a clear commitment to do this when we came into existence less than a year ago, and it’s pleasing to see that our focus on this has already had a significant impact for those on the Endoscopy waiting list, with plans at an advanced stage to begin addressing the waiting lists we inherited across a number of other clinical specialisms.
“Utilising the specialist skills of partner healthcare organisations is the approach being employed across NHS Trusts in England, and is absolutely the right approach for Manx Care to be taking too. We need to utilise the specialist capacity that other organisations have when this is available to ensure that Isle of Man residents receive the assessment and care they need quickly, which will only be achieved by supplementing the capacity we have here on-Island. Waiting lists were already a significant issue on the Island before the pandemic, but Covid-19 has only exacerbated that further. The work we are doing will allow us to address this and I’d like Manx residents to feel reassured that this will remain a strategic priority for us.”