Health tech cuts neurology waiting lists by more than half in fewer than two months

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A groundbreaking project at the Kettering General Hospital has cut neurology waiting lists in half using technology.

Technology from leading telemedicine provider Consultant Connect enabled the triage of over 1,000 referrals at Kettering General Hospital in fewer than two months. This breakthrough comes at a time when more than 230,000 patients are on neurology waiting lists across England, waiting on average 17 weeks.

The groundbreaking project reduced the neurology waiting list by over half, from 1,001 to 491, providing a template for other NHS Trusts to safely cut into their own backlogs.

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These patients were removed from the waiting list via a referral to an alternative pathway or returned to their GP with a treatment plan. Other patients were accepted for a routine appointment or fast-tracked if they needed an urgent appointment, ensuring they got the care they needed sooner.

Consultant Connect appConsultant Connect app
Consultant Connect app

The project used the clinical expertise of NHS neurologists from across the country, using Consultant Connect’s National Consultant Network. Once Kettering General Hospital’s local clinical lead briefed them on the pathways available to them, they reviewed the waiting list remotely.

This resulted in hundreds of patients being returned to their GP with a management plan to get the care they needed. These management plans not only helped to avoid unnecessary hospital referrals but also gave GPs a reference point for future similar cases, helping to educate them on the best course of action for patients.

The project has proven so successful that it has since been permanently rolled out at the hospital. Specialists from the National Consultant Network now review referrals coming in through the front door to help prevent backlogs from forming in the first place.

The tech in numbers:

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  • All 1,001 patients on the waiting list were successfully triaged in less than two months
  • 510 patients (51 per cent) of patients who were triaged) avoided an unnecessary referral
  • 20 patients (2 per cent) were fast-tracked and given an urgent hospital appointment
  • 471 patients (47 per cent) were accepted for routine appointments and directed to the right place first time

Jonathan Patrick, CEO of Consultant Connect, said: “It’s very pleasing that the seven-week project has proven to be so successful. We’re particularly happy that the tech will now be used to prevent long waiting lists. The waiting lists crisis is the greatest emergency facing the NHS, and we’re happy that our tech is helping to make processes as efficient as possible. Kettering General Hospital is at the forefront of using healthcare technology to fight this crisis and making patients their priority.”

Deborah Needham, CEO of Kettering General Hospital, said: “This project has been a game-changer for us. It’s meant that 1,000 patients are now getting the treatment and care they need instead of dealing with the stress and uncertainty that comes with waiting for an appointment. The project has also reduced the pressure on our neurology specialists by making sure patients being referred to the department actually need to be there, while ensuring the most urgent patient cases are prioritised.

“We are keen to build on this project so it becomes part of normal business for us. We’ve seen the huge effect that Consultant Connect has had on reducing our waiting lists, and are keen for it to continue. Other Trusts should consider health tech like this to help address their waiting lists.”