Approximately 6,300 advanced clinical prioritisation (ACP) consultations took place in 2021, according to a presentation to the HSE board on the scheduled care transformation programme.
ACP was among a number of “foundational steps” required to support longer-term reforms in scheduled care access and waiting times, which were outlined in the presentation.
A HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent that ACP is a process whereby a senior clinician contacts a patient on a waiting list and following assessment, expedites the patient to the most appropriate care pathway (eg, diagnostic, virtual consultation, face-to-face consultation, or management by GP). ACP has been implemented in various specialties across the country to date, including general medicine, orthopaedics, and ENT, the spokesperson added.
The presentation, which the HSE board discussed in June, also referred to further scheduled care reform initiatives in 2022. These included, among other measures, patient-centred booking arrangements, patient-initiated reviews, and a strategy for managing ‘did not attends’ (DNAs).
A patient-initiated review would involve a review appointment not being scheduled automatically, but instead initiated by the patient/family/caregiver.
The HSE’s spokesperson outlined: “Both patient-centred booking and patient-initiated reviews are in the planning stages, including effective processes being put in place to manage clinical risk. While patient-centred booking aims to enable patient choice over the appointment time and date, it is not proposed that partial booking will be a requirement of the scheduling process. All processes are being designed in line with evidence-based practice.”
In relation to the DNA strategy, a draft is in development and a pilot is expected to commence by the end of 2022.
“The strategy seeks to ensure patients are provided with sufficient notice of the appointment time/ date and to implement appointment reminders.”