Virtual fracture clinic reduces number trips to hospital

The virtual fracture clinic team

The virtual fracture clinic team - Credit: ESNEFT

Hundreds of patients a month are avoiding unnecessary trips to Colchester Hospital - thanks to a new virtual clinic which allows them to review their medical notes and X-rays online.

Patients who visit Colchester Hospital's emergency department, Clacton's minor injuries unit or Harwich's urgent treatment centre with a suspected fracture would previously have had to return to review medical notes a few days later.

But now, the 700 patients attending every month can have a follow up virtual appointment - meaning that 200 people not needing any further treatment have been discharged there and then.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the sites, says that is not only more convenient for patients but means face-to-face slots on site are kept free for those who need them most.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mahbub Alam, who set up the clinic alongside nursing staff, the plaster room team and admin colleagues, said: “The virtual fracture clinic is a brilliant example of successful team working which is making a real difference to our patients.

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“Previously, patients going to ED with a fracture would automatically be invited back to the orthopaedic clinic several days later.

"This was very inconvenient for patients who need no further treatment, as it meant they would have to make an unnecessary trip to hospital just to be discharged.

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“As well as improving the experience our patients have when receiving care, the clinic is also helping us use our appointment slots most effectively while making sure that everyone receives the most appropriate treatment, from the right professional, first time.

"It also means patients in Clacton and Harwich receive the same level of care as patients seen at Colchester."

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