Project Name: St George’s Haematology Video Consultation Service Development Joint Working Project.

Project Summary:

The St George’s University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (“the Trust”) covers a local catchment population of ~800,000 and has a tertiary referral area of ~3M. One of the Trust’s key priorities is to deliver care closer to home and develop virtual services by using digital technology.  It is hoped that this will improve the quality of service for patients and remove the need to physically visit the hospital if their appointment can be managed virtually, increase service capacity and financial efficiency of the haematology service. St George’s Hospital is an Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) centre and cancer centre providing care for approximately 150 ITP patients and 400 Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) patients on treatment. Of the MPN patients, this also includes ~50 CML patients.

Due to the Corona virus outbreak, the majority of consultations are conducted virtually via telephone clinics. However, NHS England has purchased an ‘Attend Anywhere’ Video Consultation (VC) licence and VC software for the Trust. The Trust Information Technology (IT) support team have installed the infrastructure and software for potential use by the haematology clinic. There is interest from the NHS team to offer the option of VCs to patients but this has been hindered due to the NHS team’s lack of familiarity with the VC software and confidence around how to conduct VCs with patients.

The Trust wishes to work with Novartis Pharmaceuticals U.K Limited (“Novartis”) on an 18 month Joint Working Project (“JWP”). The aim of the JWP is to develop a new VC clinic service for ITP and MPN patients. The VC service will be run and coordinated by a new Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) providing 3 CNS led VC clinics a week. The CNS will be jointly funded by the Trust and Novartis.  Additionally, to help reduce the need for patients to travel to the hospital, the CNS will engage with the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and other local community phlebotomy services to organise a process for patients, who receive a VC, to have their blood taken in the community.

It’s hoped the VCs will allow the CNS and patients to be able to see each other via video during consultations, as opposed to the current ‘virtual’ telephone consultations. It is hoped this will facilitate the CNS to be able to build a stronger relationship with ITP and MPN patients as compared to the current telephone consultations and improve their ability to provide tailored consistent support, clinical assessments and treatment decisions.

The VC clinics will help the Trust aim to improve patient satisfaction and adherence to oral Systemic Anti Cancer Therapy (SACT) / therapy. The extra VC clinics will also aim to support the Trust increase service capacity and clinic activity to facilitate the Trust to meet service Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and generate evidence for the long term financial sustainability of the VC clinic service.

Novartis will benefit from the development of a JWP that has the potential to be shared and adopted by other hospitals / NHS sites. Novartis will also gain a richer understanding of planning and implementing a VC service and support Novartis discussions with other NHS sites when developing JWPs.

Expected Patient Benefits:

Improved quality and patient satisfaction of the ITP and MPN service via the VC clinics in terms of the following:

  • Consultation which provides the ability to be able to see the CNS
  • Choice of VC at home / place of work.
  • Minimise inconvenience for patients.
  • Reduced time to initial and follow-up appointment.
  • Increase proportion of patients able to have bloods taken at their local GP surgery / community phlebotomy service.
  • Consistent tailored advice, support and materials to support understanding, adherence to oral SACT / therapy and self-management.
  • Regular clinical assessments and blood test reviews in line with national guidelines.
  • Symptom monitoring for MPN patients via the MPN10 symptom tracker.
  • Offer of an ITP pocket log App’ to support ITP patients in between consultations.

Start Date & Duration: 

November 2021 to April 2023, 18 months

UK | July 2021| 138444