When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019, one of his first promises was to sort out waiting times in the NHS, ‘My job is to make sure you don’t have to wait 3 weeks to see your GP.’ However, the Prime Minister at this time could not have predicted the pandemic and what effect this was going to have on the NHS, including the accelerated backlog of waiting lists.

Dealing with the backlog is a long-term project for the NHS, this is not something that can be resolved in a few weeks. “We have stopped for 12 weeks, but we cannot catch up in 12 weeks.” (1) In order to resolve the extensive NHS waiting lists, a plan must be put into place that the NHS is able to sustain and to move things forward so that we do not repeat history.

COVID-19 has turned the use of healthcare technology on its head, the demand for digital technology within the NHS has skyrocketed since the outbreak in March 2020. GPs and patients are becoming accustomed to communicating with one another via video conference or a mobile app. Patients self-managing their care via digital resources and remote monitoring has helped keep vulnerable patients out of hospital. This not only keeps the vulnerable safe but has alleviated the pressure on frontline services during the pandemic.

Digital technology is also helping the backlog of waiting lists, MyPathway Waiting List Management provides a simple and effective way to make immediate contact with patient cohorts across an entire service, through a simple and intuitive app that can be accessed from a range of devices. MyPathway provides effective signposting to resources and self-help for non-priority cases to ensure patients self-care whilst waiting for an appointment. Waiting list management is a long-term problem, therefore requires a long-term solution. MyPathway provides ongoing remote clinical management of the waiting list ensuring that patients are included in their healthcare journey and it is not a simple case of reducing numbers on a waiting list. MyPathway Waiting List Management can be up and working within days and can work on a standalone basis. We can also offer IT or administrative support where needed to enable rapid, timely deployment of a working service on top of ‘Business as Usual’ operations, to minimise the support required from existing hospital staff.

References

  1. Waiting time and managing the backlog of appointments, Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond – Health and Social Care Committee – House of Commons (parliament.uk)