Chief Audiologist Paul James and colleague Zena Butt designed a new pathway for patients with tinnitus, hearing loss and dizziness at the Royal National Throat, Nose and ear Hospital, which resulted in a 30 per cent increase in outpatient appointment availability at the hospital’s specialist clinics.
Paul and Zena discovered that 67 per cent of patients with these conditions can be managed by a senior audiologist and do not require a consultant appointment to rule out medical conditions.
Paul and his colleagues successfully influenced commissioners and key stakeholders within primary and secondary care to set up an audiologist-run clinic. Findings suggest that the new clinic is able to free up 30 per cent of consultant outpatient appointments per week, enabling doctors to see the right patients, more quickly.
This new patient pathway was tested for safety and achieved a score of 100%.
The team won the award for Innovation in Service Delivery at the 2012 Healthcare Science Awards for the programme, which was presented by Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley, on Monday, 30th April.
Paul is participating in this year’s Clinical Leadership Fellowship programme and submitted the project as part of his service improvement assessment. The Fellowships, which are run by the NHS Leadership Academy, aim to support the transformation of leadership capacity and capability across the NHS, and offer clinical professionals a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills, career, and contribution. It runs on a part-time basis over nine months in the Fellows’ own organisation and in conjunction with their existing clinical role.
Paul said: “This project is having a massive impact on pathway efficiency and quality of care. It has freed up to 30 per cent of capacity at the clinics so the hospital can see more patients and reduce waiting times.
“The Clinical Leadership Fellowship programme has given me the skills and confidence to take this project further. My ultimate aim is to develop more innovative ways of working in audiology and to provide a comprehensive diagnostic service in the community, with more joined-up care within hospitals.”
The closing date for applications is 5pm on 7 June. Visit Visit http://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/areas-of-work/national-programmes/fellowship-application-about for more information.