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Changes to hospital follow-up appointments in York and Scarborough

NHS Vale of York and Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have announced joint plans to reduce the number of patient follow-up appointments that are provided in local hospitals.

Currently, patients who have an appointment with a specialist consultant are offered a follow-up appointment as a matter of routine, with some patients having a regular schedule of appointments with a consultant.

However, in a bid to streamline the service, improve convenience for patients and reduce the costs associated with providing appointments in a hospital setting, the CCG is changing the system so that patients are discharged back to their GP who will manage any subsequent care requirements.

Dr Phil Garnett, Chair of NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, said: “Changing the system for follow-up appointments from consultant to GP will bring benefits for both the patient and the local healthcare economy.

“Many of the follow-up appointments that are currently provided by consultants could be done in a GP practice, resulting in less inconvenience for patients in terms of having to travel to hospital and also freeing-up the consultant’s time to see those patients with a more specialist need.

“The change will also save money as for every appointment that is provided by a consultant or one of their team, there is a cost attached to it which comes out of the local healthcare budget.

“It is important to highlight that GPs will still have the opportunity to refer patients back to the consultant if necessary, so there is no comprise on the quality or breadth of care available to patients.”

Dr Mark Hayes, Chief Clinical Officer for NHS Vale of York CCG, said: “We are working towards a remodelled outpatient service that provides a more cost effective, higher quality of care.

“Local GPs will continue to work with their colleagues in local hospitals to make this process as safe and effective as possible.

“The savings this will create means that we can wipe out our inherited debt and have money to deliver more types of healthcare in a setting that’s more accessible for patients.”

The CCG is currently working with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to write to patients affected by the change.

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