Almost 750 patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria have benefitted from a weekend drive which provided 800 extra appointments for echocardiography (ECHO), a scan used to look at the heart and blood vessels.
The push to reduce waiting lists was made possible due to a digital passporting scheme which allowed staff to move between four local hospital trusts over two weekends in February and March.
The hospital trusts involved were Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant that some elective procedures and diagnostics were restricted or suspended, leaving around 6,000 patients waiting for an ECHO.
Alexandra Severns, cardiac network programme manager for Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, said:
“This is a great initiative that took 12 per cent of people off our waiting list in just two months and reassured those who have been waiting longer than necessary for a scan.
“We’re hoping to do this again in future and other specialities are also looking at how it can be replicated.”
To support patients and to promote post-COVID ECHO recovery, the hospital trusts came together through cross-site working to offer additional capacity as a system-wide workforce.
This collaborative work has decreased waiting lists substantially and has successfully returned a number of sites back to pre-COVID levels.
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