Manx Care is able to confirm details of how it will begin to reduce waiting lists across a further seven clinical specialisms, following the recent confirmation of plans to reduce its cataract waiting list.
Medefer will deliver virtual telemedicine outpatient appointments to a number of individuals waiting for assessment if they are classed as being eligible for this treatment option, and if they provide their consent for this to happen. The clinical specialisms that will be covered under Medefer’s partnership with Manx Care are Cardiology, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), Gastroenterology, Respiratory Medicine, Pain Management, Orthopaedics and routine Dermatology referrals.
Patients who are eligible, and who have provided their consent, 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 NHS Specialist to expedite their treatment rather than remaining on the waiting list to see a Manx Care Specialist. 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, given that some of them will require assessment in person by a Specialist in an outpatient clinic at Noble’s Hospital.
Manx Care has worked extensively with the Isle of Man’s Information Commissioner on the development of the clinical pathway for this activity in order to ensure that a patient’s personal data remains protected and the appropriate patient consent is put in place. No-one from either Manx Care or Medefer will ask patients for any form of payment, or for their bank details or any other financial details, either on the phone, in a letter or via email. This treatment will be free at the point of care.
Medefer’s specialist consultants, all of whom are practising NHS consultants, will review the patient referral and either:
- Refer the patient into the Outpatient Department directly at Noble’s Hospital with a risk-rated assessment of their condition
- Advance the patient’s care by speaking with them directly to gain more information on their condition, or by requesting additional tests and investigations in line with Manx Care’s clinical pathways
- Refer the patient back to their GP if their treatment and planned care can be managed and delivered in the community or a Primary Care setting
Pioneering work by Medefer, beginning prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrated that virtual outpatient activity is safe and effective for the majority of patients. For these patients, a Specialist can manage their condition remotely, including organising any face-to-face investigations or diagnostic tests that may be required in a hospital setting.
Some patients will still need to be assessed in a face-to-face clinic. Many of these patients would have already had part of their care delivered remotely prior to attending a face-to-face appointment – for example, they may already have had diagnostic tests and investigations booked for them following a clinical review of their case notes. This allows the Specialist and the patient to have a far more productive consultation when they meet in-person.
Medefer’s technology enables NHS Specialists to work more efficiently, and also support the NHS backlog recovery efforts across the UK by working remotely. The additional capacity this provides means that those patients who need to see a Specialist at a face-to-face appointment will have a shorter waiting time than may have otherwise been feasible.
Teresa Cope, CEO of Manx Care, commented:
'Establishing a working partnership with Medefer is not only an important part of our plan to reduce waiting lists across a number of clinical specialisms, but an important part of our broader Elective Restoration and Recovery Programme. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that there is very much a place for the use of virtual models of care delivery when appropriate to do so and, in many cases, we were reliant on this method of assessment during lockdown. Many patients have a condition whereby they don’t need to attend an appointment at an outpatient clinic for physical assessment, and so having their Specialist appointment conducted virtually is not only faster for them, but increases the number of appointments available to those people who do need to come in for a face-to-face appointment. I hope Manx residents feel reassured that we’re taking appropriate steps to reduce our waiting lists and provide them with the specialist assessment they have been waiting a long time for.'
Medefer has considerable experience in working with Island communities. Since July 2020, it has been working alongside the Isle of Wight to help deliver its virtual outpatient services as part of a proactive Covid-19 recovery programme. It is delivering significant patient benefit and has been shortlisted for a health industry award in recognition of the positive impact it is having there. Medefer is a CQC-registered care provider and currently rated as ‘good’.
Dr. Bahman Nedjat-Shokouhi, founder and CEO of Medefer, added:
'We are very proud of this relationship with Manx Care and the impact we will have on patients on the Isle of Man. The partnership between Medefer and Manx Care will mean we can help patients get better, faster. Together with the team at Manx Care, we are committed to providing a sustainable outpatient service that will transform and modernise the way outpatient services are delivered for Manx local residents.'