December 2019 - GIRFT Stakeholder Newsletter - Read online

stakeholder newsletter

December 2019

More sight-saving surgery possible, says GIRFT report

GIRFT's national report into ophthalmology services has now been published, recommending that all trusts perform routine cataract surgery in 30 minutes or less to allow more patients to have vision-restoring treatment.

This is the 10th national report from GIRFT, and it offers a series of 23 recommendations focusing on how units treating the major sight-threatening conditions – cataract, glaucoma, wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and diabetic retinopathy – can:
  • Optimise hospital theatre time for routine cataract surgery to enable more patients to be treated, more quickly;
  • Offer more care for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in settings outside of hospital and closer to patients’ homes, such as mobile units and community eye clinics;
  • Improve the referral process for patients with cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease, to reduce the number of people attending hospital unnecessarily and ensure those who need treatment are seen more quickly; and
  • Arrange for some post-surgical care to be carried out by optometrists in the community, offering greater convenience for patients and freeing up outpatient time.

The recommendations have the potential to deliver cost efficiencies of up to £64m. Read the report in full here.

Review of crisis and acute mental health gets under way

GIRFT has begun pilot visits in its adult crisis and acute mental health workstream, meeting the teams in England’s mental health trusts for the first time.

Dr Ian Davidson, GIRFT’s clinical lead for adult crisis and acute mental health and a consultant general adult psychiatrist at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, is heading out on ‘deep dive’ visits over the next few months, discussing the issues facing the specialty, sharing good practice and identifying ways to improve patient care.

Pilot visits are scheduled to Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, East London NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust before visits to the 53 other mental health trusts begin in mid-January 2020. Read more here.

10 GIRFT workstreams now live on Model Hospital

GIRFT's presence on Model Hospital continues to grow, and we now have 10 live workstreams. Metrics for ophthalmology were added in November, and this week we added ENT and neurosurgery data. If you work at a trust and don’t have a Model Hospital login, you can sign up at to view all of the available metrics for your trust.

We will soon be promoting the GIRFT metrics on Model Hospital widely on Twitter and LinkedIn, including a short video, so please follow look out for it @NHSGIRFT and share. We want as many people as possible working within trusts to sign up. We’ll also be producing some short ‘how-to’ videos, highlighting how to access and interpret the GIRFT metrics. Again we’ll be sharing these on social media and our regional implementation teams will also be able to point you towards them.

Project aims to empower diabetes patients  

GIRFT is starting work on a new 18-month project aimed at improving the perioperative pathway of diabetes patients undergoing surgery. The IP3D project (Improving the Perioperative Pathway of Patients with Diabetes) initially aims to support 16 trusts in England to implement a care pathway which empowers the patient in both preparing for surgery and throughout their whole perioperative journey.
The project is based on a model used at Ipswich Hospital, part of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, where it was shown to significantly reduce surgical length of stay and was well received by patients and staff.

GIRFT's joint leads for diabetes, Professor Gerry Rayman and Professor Partha Kar, will support the project with IP3D programme manager Emma Page. For more information, contact Read more here.

Pathology review begins

GIRFT's pathology workstream has now begun, led by joint clinical leads Dr Marion Wood and Dr Tom Lewis and senior adviser Martin Myers. 

Working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement's Pathology Consolidation Programme, we're holding clinical conversations with key players within pathology networks and departments, including 'deep dive‘ discussions with individual NHS trust pathology teams, looking at their data and metrics and focusing on areas of variation.

Read more here.

High commendation for veterans work

The Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), which is delivered by GIRFT, was highly commended at the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards for its work in improving NHS care for members of the armed forces community.

More than 20 awards were presented at the London ceremony and GIRFT was highly commended from nine shortlisted finalists for the Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award. The winner of the category was Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, for its work in making the identification of veterans a priority and providing the best care to them.

The VCHA supports NHS providers to meet a series of pledges aimed at reducing unwarranted variation in the care provided to servicemen and women, veterans, reservists and their families. Trusts that meet these standards are accredited as Veteran Aware, with 41 providers across the country already carrying the mark.

For more information on the VCHA, visit our Veteran Aware page. Read more about the award here.

Document aims to transform imaging services

NHS England and NHS Improvement recently published its national strategy, Transforming imaging services in England: a national strategy for imaging networks, setting out proposals for implementing collaborative imaging networks across the country to deliver better quality care and better value services for patients. It also provides NHS staff further opportunities to develop their career and increase their productivity.

By bringing together clinical expertise through a networking model, the aim is to reduce unwarranted variation, provide better quality care, better value services for patients and give NHS staff the opportunity to develop their careers. Financial efficiencies will be reinvested into imaging services to ensure their sustainability.

This strategy complements £200m of capital funding dedicated to improving the quality of diagnostic imaging equipment to support cancer screening and speed up diagnosis. This is a step towards achieving the NHS Long Term Plan objective of diagnosing three quarters of cancers at an early stage by 2028 through improved screening processes.

You can find further information here

ECTP call to join knowledge network

The Elective Care Transformation Programme is building an active community to communicate, collaborate and share learning to increase capability for whole system transformation of local services. Colleagues across the NHS who are working to transform elective care can join its Community of Practice, a network for commissioners, clinicians, managers and expert patients to share knowledge and materials, and collaborate more effectively. Email for access.
Five minutes with... Kath Halliday

GIRFT's clinical lead for imaging and radiology tells us why she loves her specialty so much...

Q: How did you first become interested in radiology?

When I was a general surgical registrar at Hammersmith Hospital. I was so impressed with the breadth of the radiologists' knowledge.
Q: What excites you most about your specialty?
It is extremely varied and you do so many different things in one day. You see all the interesting cases and can really make a difference to patients
Q: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Being the GIRFT lead for radiology – I’m surprised you have to ask!
Q: Who or what inspires you? 
The amazing people I work with every day in the health service, both in my own hospital and the ones I visit. So many are people just getting on with the job - they don’t expect praise or recognition but they deserve it.
Q: How do you relax? 
Walking my beautiful labradoodle, Saffy.

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