Manx Care has confirmed its plan to reduce waiting lists across nine clinical specialities.
It will use the services of two UK-based external companies – Medefer and 18 Week Support – to deliver around 12,500 virtual outpatient consultations and inpatient procedures between September 2021 and March 2022. The Treasury has approved a business case to provide £1.86m of additional funding to deliver this activity. The backlog in waiting lists is a long-standing issue on the Island, which has been exacerbated by Covid-19.
Medefer provides a virtual outpatient service to NHS Trusts across the UK, employing a large number of medical Consultants with experience across a broad range of clinical specialisms. They’ll work with Consultants at Noble’s Hospital to identify patients who have been waiting the longest for a specialist appointment, and who are eligible for their medical consultation to be delivered virtually. These patients will then be referred to Medefer.
The Medefer Consultant will review the patient’s medical history and any relevant test results before conducting a detailed phone consultation with them. If any further tests are required, patients will have these on the Isle of Man. These will then be reviewed in a virtual follow-up appointment. The patient will then either be discharged under the care of their GP with a detailed treatment plan, or will be discharged back into the outpatient system for further follow-up appointments.
Medefer will focus on the provision of around 10,000 appointments across the specialities of:
- ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat)
- Respiratory medicine
- Pain management
18 Week Support utilises a hospital’s surplus theatre capacity to deliver surgical procedures across a weekend period, and provides this service across a large number of UK NHS Trusts. A full clinical team from the company – including Consultants, Surgeons, Nurses and Theatre Practitioners – will travel to the Island to deliver around 2,500 Endoscopy and Cataract procedures at Noble’s. This will not impact on Manx Care’s core workforce, which is already working to capacity.
Both Medefer and 18-Week Support are included in the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection regime and are used extensively across the UK NHS, particularly around the restoration and recovery of services as NHS Trusts work to reduce their own waiting list backlogs caused by the pandemic. Consultants from both companies will work closely with Manx Care’s Consultants to ensure patients receive a joined-up care pathway, with support available by Island-based teams as needed.
Manx Care’s CEO, Teresa Cope, commented:
'Addressing the long-standing waiting list challenge across our health and care service is a priority for Manx Care. It’s unacceptable that people are having to wait as long as they are for consultations and treatment. Utilising the services of Medefer and 18-Week Support will allow us to focus on reducing our waiting lists across nine clinical specialisms whilst implementing the changes we need to deliver that will allow us to provide a long-term, sustainable service here on-Island.
'The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the pressure on waiting lists over the last 17 months, and the delivery of health and social care services more broadly. Like the UK NHS, which is investing over £5 billion into the recovery of health and care services following the pandemic, Manx Care has secured funding to address a significant proportion of our waiting list backlog which will be targeted at those who have been waiting the longest time for their outpatient appointment or procedure.'