NHS Forth Valley to Test New Healthcare Model

Two groundbreaking models are to be tested by Scottish health boards to help improve the flow of patients through the NHS.

The approaches will look at improving the way that patients move through the hospital system, with the aim of freeing up beds, and reducing the amount of time that patients spend unnecessarily in hospital.

NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Forth Valley will be the first health boards to pilot the approaches, with another three health boards, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Tayside and NHS Borders to follow.

The models are being funded by £4.5 million of investment over the next three years.

The pilot in NHS Forth Valley has already been successful and has dramatically reduced waiting times in hospitals in the USA and Canada, such as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio, and the Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario.

If they prove effective, this work will then be rolled out to other health boards across Scotland.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “I have been very clear that we need to improve the way that patients flow through our hospitals, and these innovative models will help to test new ways of improving how the NHS operates.

“I am keen that Scotland can continue to lead the way in pioneering work to improve care for our patients, and this work will help to ensure that health boards are managing their capacity and ensuring that patients are not kept in hospital unnecessarily.

“Improving flow throughout the whole system will help to free up beds and ensure patients can be put in the most appropriate ward for their treatment.

“This also feeds into the work we are already doing around ensuring we can offer consistent round the clock care to patients across Scotland.

“I know that changes towards 24/7 care are already happening in some areas, but we need to accelerate the pace of change, by targeting enhanced weekend and out of hours services that will benefit patients the most, and that is why I have also appointed an expert group to look specifically at this issue.

“In addition, we have invested £50 million in our unscheduled care action plan which is making improvements to the whole healthcare system to ensure patients can be seen and treated quicker.”

Dr Peter Murdoch, Medical Director, NHS Forth Valley, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project which aims to ensure patients get the right care, at the right time in the right place.

“We are bringing together a local team to work with colleagues from the Institute of Healthcare Optimisation in Boston to help shape and support this important initiative and explore how we can use their experience to help further improve the way we design and deliver services in Forth Valley.”