Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Two new eye care hospitals have opened in Norwich in late 2021 providing cataract operations. These new hospitals were accepting new referrals from GPs and optometrists and treatments were being delivered within 4-6 weeks of referral. A third existing eye care facility in Norwich also had capacity to treat patients quicker than the NNUH.
The ICB put a plan in place to use this new capacity for the long wait patients. Patients had to be contacted to be offered choice of alternative provider.
The Protect NoW team played an invaluable role by contacting 500 patients over a two-week period to ask if the patient still required treatment, and, if yes, would they like to be treated at another provider in a quicker timeframe? The team also asked additional questions to help determine if the patient would be suitable for treatment at the alternative providers.
All the results from the telephone contacts were recorded and outcomes returned to the NNUH. The patients who requested to be seen elsewhere were then transferred to three eye care services in Norwich for immediate treatment.
Although a formal script was used for the telephone calls to ensure a standardised process, the call handlers were able to spend time talking in depth with the patient and offer help and support where appropriate and signpost to other services. Feedback from the patients was positive as many patients had thought that they had been forgotten. The NNUH team were extremely grateful for the support that the team provided as a large volume of patients could be contacted in a timely manner.