Putting doctors’ orders back in order
Our interim helped an NHS Trust hit its 18-week target and halve its backlog.
Interim Partners was engaged by an NHS Trust to assist with their 18 week target. The NHS Trust had improved their performance target from less than 80% to over 90% the previous year.
An NHS Trust’s 18-week performance looked set to fall back to 80%, making fines, lost revenue and reputational risk a very real possibility.
Our director of Healthcare, Steve Melber, introduced his pick of the NHS 18-week turnaround experts he interviewed from his known and unknown UK network. A senior interim manager with over 20 years’ NHS experience and 14 years in the military before that was placed.
The selected Interim Executive committed to getting the Trust back towards 95% in just two months. The Trust didn’t know why it wasn’t hitting targets but he soon did. The Trust’s focus had been on getting patients seen as soon as possible but this didn’t address the fact that many were already over the 18-week period. Patients were being added to the backlog at the same rate as those leaving it.
Our Interim Executive shifted the focus from the backlog to the pathway, looking at those patients in the 15- to 18-week period. He organised weekly meetings between schedulers, surgeons and operational managers and showed them how they could make better use of the data available to them. For example, if a Trust gives three weeks’ notice to a patient for an appointment and they decline, their position in the queue is frozen. To help them meet targets, the Trust needed to notify patients of appointments at least three weeks in advance and before 15 weeks.
The Trust regained over 95% 18-week compliance. The Interim Executive and the team also reduced the backlog from 260 to 108, exceeding his 50% reduction target. His review of the 18-week operation and training of his successors kept the Trust above 95% even after his assignment ended.