Proposals to invest up to £900 million across hospitals in north and mid Hampshire would see their outpatient departments developed into new ‘one-stop’ clinics, if they go ahead.
The clinics would combine traditional outpatient departments with diagnostic tests and scans (such as cancer screening, MRI, ultrasound, and x-ray), and therapy services, such as occupational therapy and physiotherapy.
Dr Dominic Kelly, Consultant Cardiologist and Associate Medical Director for Clinical Strategy at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The investment would mean we could make significant improvements to people’s experiences of hospital appointments, and the care we can provide.
“Coming to an appointment in an outpatient clinic is by far the most frequent reason people come to hospital and we want to offer patients more choice about how and where they do so.
“As well as enabling us to provide safer and higher quality care, bringing specialist services together at a new hospital and planned services together at Winchester hospital would also make our teams more efficient. This would mean that specialist doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals could really improve the way that we care for patients as a whole, rather than their individual conditions.
“Patients could have multiple aspects of their care in one visit – such as their consultation, scan and result on the same day – and we would also aim to link any other appointments together, so people could see other members of their healthcare team the same day. We would aim to provide these improved services at both Winchester and the new hospital, as well as continuing to provide outpatients services in many other locations as we do currently.
“As well as a comprehensive range of tests and scans, the clinics would be able to carry out some treatments and procedures. This means you could combine perhaps three or four traditional style outpatient appointments – with all the inconvenience they entail – into one trip.
“What’s more, urgent outpatient clinics for patients who might need surgery would be available as locally as possible. These would offer same day or next day appointments so that patients can be rapidly assessed, diagnosed, and potentially treated, often without being admitted to hospital. The care we give people who have had strokes is already similar to this, and these examples of excellence will be extended to other areas.
Dr Charlotte Hutchings, Clinical Director for North and Mid Hampshire at NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said: “Hospital assessments for people with suspected cancer would take place in one-stop clinics, and the investment would enable us to replace all the equipment that’s ten years old or more.
“This would mean people get faster access to the tests and scans they need, with assessment from a whole team of healthcare professionals in the same place.
Along with other planned improvements, we would be able to see and treat more patients with suspected cancer sooner, and reduce anxiety and repeated hospital visits.”
The new ‘model of care’ in the proposals, which are currently out to consultation, would also give patients the option of accessing care how and when they need it, rather than having to attend routine appointments that might not be necessary.
Dr Charlotte Hutchings continued: “We want to provide more options for online appointments, making services as easy to access as possible, and giving people more choice. This reduces inconvenience for patients, and means there are fewer journeys on local roads, reducing congestion and carbon emissions.
“Where patients do need to come to hospital, new technology will make it easier for them to book and cancel their appointments as needed.”
Transforming outpatient care will be further enhanced by work already underway to develop a Community Diagnostic Centre in Andover, which is due to complete shortly. The centre will reduce the need for local people to travel to Basingstoke or Winchester hospitals. The Centre will undertake MRI, CT and ultrasound scans and offer increased x-ray capacity.
Get involved and have your say
Patients, local people, and NHS staff are being encouraged to get involved in the public consultation and give their views on all the proposals.
To find out more, attend an event, or complete the questionnaire, visit www.hampshiretogether.nhs.uk. The consultation is open until midnight on 17 March 2024