Industrial action by the Royal College of Nursing
30 January 2023
Publish date: 15 November 2022
More than 800 patients waiting for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) appointments across North Central London (NCL), were seen in two days during an ENT super weekend, held towards the end of September. It follows the success of a similar event held in NCL for orthopaedic appointments.
Over the weekend patients in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, and Islington waiting for ENT first and follow-up appointments were able to see consultants, nurses, and other health professionals at clinics at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Whittington Health NHS Trust.
During their appointment, patients received diagnostic services including scans and tests, obtained a diagnosis (where possible), were referred for surgery or other treatment, or were discharged with advice on self-care, where applicable.
The event was organised by the North Central London ENT Network, which was created to provide timely, high-quality care to patients for conditions relating to their ears, nose, and throat.
The network is an innovative approach to provide planned ENT surgery in NCL and is helping to reduce waiting times, minimise cancelled operations and ensure patients with the greatest clinical need are prioritised for treatment – as the NHS works hard to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One patient seen during the weekend said: “I know I was seen earlier than I would have been, I received my treatment plan today and am now booked in for my surgery.” Another said: “I was seen very fast. Everyone was very polite and welcoming. I appreciate staff working at weekends to cut down waiting times.”
Senior Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Director at UCLH and NCL ENT Network Chair, Professor Peter Andrews said: “It has been a hugely successful event and I am very proud of my colleagues who have worked extremely hard in planning and delivering this ENT super weekend to be able to see so many patients over two days. Consultants, nurses, audiologists, administrators, receptionists, and other staff from three NHS trusts in NCL have collaborated successfully to get people waiting for ENT appointments the help they need more quickly.
“Like the NCL Elective Orthopaedic Network, the ENT Network has worked extremely well to combine the expertise of surgeons, consultants, and other healthcare professionals from the Royal Free London, Whittington Health and UCLH. This will benefit all ENT patients and is a good example of new ways in which the NHS can work collectively together to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce waiting lists.”
Dr Sachin Prabhu, divisional director for surgery and associated services at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, which ran two all-day clinics on both Saturday and Sunday at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, said: “I am delighted that our trust was able to play such a pivotal role and work with dedicated NHS colleagues across NCL to help so many patients. By working together, we were able to see over 800 patients on the ENT waiting list across NCL in a short space of time and hope to run similar events again soon.”
The success of this event and an earlier NCL orthopaedic super weekend will serve as a model for future NHS events for different areas of healthcare within NCL; similar events for ENT will be held towards the end of this year and in 2023.
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