WYAAT leads the Planned Care programme on behalf of the West Yorkshire Health & Care Partnership. Within this, the Elective Recovery programme aims to deliver the best quality elective care for our patients, in the right place. Our trusts are working hard with their partners in social care, community, and primary care, to ensure that the national priority direction towards protecting screening, diagnostic and treatment capacity is reflected in practice.

The Elective Recovery programme is both clinically and operationally led. We work together across the WYAAT hospitals, using data to strive to: 

  • Increase the capacity within our organisations so patients have shorter waiting times for their treatment   
  • Treat the most unwell patients first, followed by those which have been waiting the longest, where possible  
  • Ensure all pathways are optimised so the right patients attend their appointments using the right method, in the right organisation, at the right time and receive the right treatment
  • Collaborate on workforce, so our trusts can cover roles effectively and our people are fulfilled in their work
  • Improve communication and provide better information and engagement with patients, carers and all who use our services  
  • Have a consistent approach to prioritisation of all patients to ensure equity of access across all six organisations. 

This collaborative approach will enable our organisations to continually share best practice, learn from one another, and create an environment where the patient is front and centre of all that we do.

In March 2022, WYAAT received over £60 million to fund the development and implementation of dedicated surgical locations in Dewsbury, Wharfedale, Chapel Allerton and at St Luke’s in Bradford.  This funding will enable the hospitals to continue to develop a collaborative, more resilient approach to operational pressures that facilitates the continuation of surgical procedures. These sites are located away from the main hospital sites and focus solely on providing elective and planned procedures for those on waiting lists. 

Outpatient and Elective Transformation

Our work on outpatients is helping to make sure that patients are seen in hospital only when necessary, and by the right clinician. We are supporting work between hospitals and GPs to improve the quality of specialist information provided to primary care without the need for an outpatient appointment and are supporting clinicians to offer traditional follow-up appointments only when necessary. This should mean patients have to make fewer unnecessary trips into hospital and our outpatient clinics see patients who are most unwell and require specialist treatment.

We are working together to identify ways of reducing the number of missed appointments and identifying how we can make the processes around appointments more equitable for different patient groups. We have continued to expand our use of virtual consultation across our services to ensure more patients can access appointments without requiring a hospital visit. 

We are working with partners top explore he best digital technology available to provide patients with timely information about their care, manage their appointments and receive information to support them whilst they are waiting for their treatment.

Workforce transformation

Expanding workforce capacity, and allowing staff to recover, is fundamental in achieving the ambitions set out in the elective recovery delivery plan. To help support, protect, and retain staff, WYAAT colleagues are working collaboratively to share best practice and transformational ways of working, and to identify innovative ways to support staff recruitment, retention and education.

We are working with schools, colleges and Higher Education institutions and have partnered with local authorities to develop and a new school engagement project called ‘NHS: A career in Surgery’. The aim of this project is to educate students about various roles and opportunities available within a career in surgery and aims to support the expansion and development of our workforce in an inclusive way to meet the growing and changing needs of local populations in West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

Key achievements:

  • In the last year, the programme has supported our trusts to transfer over 500 patients to an alternative hospital, to receive earlier treatment. 
  • We have reduced the number of patients waiting over 18 months for treatment from over 3,200 to almost zero and are aiming that all elective treatments are completed within 12 months or less.
  • We have established seven Clinical Networks: ENT, gynaecology, general surgery, ophthalmology, perioperative, trauma & orthopaedics and urology. These networks enable clinicians and operational managers to come together and share best practice, aligning with national priorities and operational planning guidance. The groups identify and explore opportunities for improvement across the whole pathway, including pre-hospital, hospital, and post-hospital activity.
  • We have established dedicated groups to support organisations to optimise their existing theatre staff, capacity, and estates.
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