Outpatient Service Delivery Top 10 Priorities

The most important questions

  1. How could all necessary tests and relevant medical history be identified and completed before the outpatient appointment?
  2. What are the most effective ways to decrease the time gap between an investigation (e.g. a biopsy) and sharing the results/next steps with patients?
  3. How can patients be more involved in decisions regarding their care and treatment and be empowered to ask questions during consultations and ensure they understand and give their opinion?
  4. What are the best ways of deciding which types of health conditions and patients can safely and effectively be managed virtually versus face-to-face?
  5. How can technology be best used to support patients, carers, managerial/clerical staff, and healthcare professionals in improving the patients’ care pathway and capacity of outpatient services?
  6. What are the best ways to deliver information to patients about their conditions, management plans, tests to be done and results: verbal and/or written methods?
  7. What are the best ways to improve the outpatient experience and outcomes for patients with specific needs (e.g. autistic patients, prisoners and homeless)?
  8. What are the best ways to create a comfortable and less stressful environment in outpatient clinics for patients, carers, and their families while waiting for their appointments?
  9. Can hub models improve waiting time and accessibility for diagnostic procedures and how? Is it better to have tests done in one place, same day?
  10. For patients with multiple health conditions that are connected to each other, should these be separate appointments, or all appointments combined?

The following questions were also discussed and put in order of priority at the workshop:

  1. What types of training or skills do GPs and other healthcare professionals need to have to support patients with long-term conditions or multiple comorbidities?
  2. How can information in outpatient letters be made easier to understand? E.g. who you are seeing, location, follow up letter with treatment plan
  3. Should hospital outpatient clinics and GP practices follow rigid time slots or flexible system of options to book appointments?
  4. What methods can be used to reduce did not attend appointment rates?
  5. Should repeat appointments for the same condition be with the same GP?
  6. Should patients have the choice to have outpatient appointments outside their geographical area?
  7. What are the impacts on staff and patients of appointments being available out of office hours?
  8. How are outpatient services adapting after the pandemic and what has been learned?
  9. What delivers better outpatient care: NHS or private care?
  10. What are the best ways to make clear how long it will take to be given an appointment?
  11. Are other communication methods (emails, text messages, phone calls) effective to replace physical letters sent by post?

Document downloads

For full details of all of the questions identified by this PSP, please see this PSP spreadsheet