To help NHS organisations improve patient access to care following the pandemic, the Government has put aside £1bn of additional funding (accessible only for the first half of 2021/22).
This funding is part of the Government's strategy to reduce the elective care backlog that was made dramatically worse by Covid. In this blog post we answer your questions about the funding and how Cinapsis can help with your recovery plans.
Q: Who is eligible for a share of the funding and how will funding be allocated?
A: Trusts across every Integrated Care System in England which are planning to surpass activity levels funded from core system envelopes. The new activity levels that grant access to the Elective Recovery Fund represent an increase compared to 2019/20 activity thresholds as follows:
- April >70%
- May >75%
- June >80%
- July – September >85%
Activity above these threshold limits will be paid at tariff prices, in addition to their core funding, with any additional activity above 85% paid at 120% of tariff rates.
In order to access the Elective Recovery Fund, acute providers will need to meet several ‘gateway criteria’ such as addressing health inequalities, transformation of outpatient services, implementing system-led elective working, tackling the longest waits and supporting staff.
Q: What is the funding intended for?
A: Cancer services are to be prioritised, specifically reducing the number of patients waiting for longer than 62 days for cancer procedures to pre-pandemic levels.
In addition to cancer services, systems are expected to implement whole pathway transformations and thereby improve performance in three specialties: cardiac, musculoskeletal and eye care, with support via the National Pathway Improvement Programme.
Q: What are the criteria that Cinapsis can help you meet?
A: Cinapsis can help with all of the requirements that systems must demonstrate in order to be eligible for the Elective Recovery Fund:
1. Transforming outpatient services
Systems are expected to take all possible steps to avoid outpatient attendances of low clinical value and redeploy that capacity where it is needed. Where outpatient attendances are clinically necessary, at least 25% should be delivered remotely by telephone or video consultation.
NHS organisations using Cinapsis SmartReferrals are reducing face-to-face and virtual appointments by as much as 70% by giving GPs, community nurses and mental health workers access to specialist advice and guidance at their fingertips. Clinicians in the community can agree patient management plans with specialists through the fast and secure exchange of patient information.
Instantly connecting GPs and community nurses with local specialists, in this way, through end-to-end encrypted instant messaging, secure image-sharing and telephone and video consultations, allows the most clinically urgent patients to be prioritised. This is especially important for cancer services, where many cases can be managed without a referral, simply with advice and guidance in the community.
Richard Parker, Board Member in North Norfolk Primary Care said: “Cinapsis builds the confidence of primary care practitioners, allowing them to make decisions in partnership rather than passing over the responsibility with a referral. Cinapsis enables more creative decision-making.”
Speaking of his experience with Cinapsis, Dr Malcolm Gerald, Clinical Lead for Cinapsis Project, Gloucestershire ICS said: “Cinapsis is the only system that provides the front-end flexibility we require. The flexibility and configurability of the Cinapsis solution, and the ongoing support from the team, has allowed us to wire our system in a really effective way.”
2. System-led recovery
Integrated Care Systems are required to set out how the management of Patient Tracking Lists (PTLs), including for cancer patients, will be undertaken at a system level.
Our mission at Cinapsis is to connect care and enable patients with complex health and social care needs to receive the right support in the most appropriate place. The platform supports communication and collaboration within an integrated care system by enabling GPs, community nurses, paramedics, mental health workers and optometrists to get immediate specialist advice and guidance.
With built-in patient tracking lists and integrations with Electronic Patient Record systems in both primary care (EMIS and SystmOne) and secondary care (read and write integration with Trust systems is achieved by utilising HL7/FHIR messages), Cinapsis SmartReferrals works seamlessly, is very intuitive and ultimately saves clinicians precious time.
Speaking on one of our recent webinars, Dr Chin Whybrew, General Practitioner, The Stoke Road Surgery said: “I love the Cinapsis toolbar - it makes it so quick and easy to access advice and guidance - it’s great!”
Dr Emma Wylie, Clinical Lead for Acute Medicine, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says: “Cinapsis enables us to turn Emergency Care into Urgent Planned Care, setting up the beginning of the patient journey for a whole range of acute medical conditions before they even arrive at the hospital.”
3. Clinical validation, waiting list data quality and reducing long waits
Cinapsis is an innovative advice and guidance and referral management platform designed to tackle elective care backlogs by streamlining clinical communications and helping clinicians make better triaging decisions.
The technology creates a faster and more continuous dialogue between primary care practitioners and hospital-based consultants, speeding up diagnosis and enabling more cases to be treated in the community rather than in hospital settings, thereby dramatically reducing expected waiting times.
Katie Pryce, GP Fellow, NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG said of Cinapsis: “This project is creating new possibilities in terms of how we diagnose, refer and treat dermatology cases across Norfolk and Waveney. By opening up better channels of communication between GPs and hospital teams, we will be able to optimise the treatment of patients in primary care. This will result in shorter waiting times for those needing secondary care management, ultimately improving both the patient’s experience and their clinical outcomes.”
4. Addressing health inequalities
In order to help effectively measure access across an ICS population, according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) and ethnicity, Cinapsis SmartReferrals features powerful analytics that can be linked to population health and outcome databases through integrations with NHS core systems including the MESH.
5. People recovery
Clinicians are at the heart of everything we do at Cinapsis. We are striving to make their lives easier and to that end we are constantly improving the platform and user experience. Some of the ways that we are achieving this is by:
- automating time-consuming admin tasks such as taking down patient and referrer details
- automatically verifying patient information through the NHS Spine
- integrating with primary and secondary care systems for quicker access and safer information-sharing
- converting a request into a referral with one click through an integration with e-RS
- working closely with clinicians to understand their needs and action them as soon as possible
In 2020, we saved 241 hours of clinical time for the NHS and eliminated 10,500 unnecessary Emergency Department visits.
Dr William Porter, Consultant Dermatologist, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Cinapsis halves the time it takes to access Advice and Guidance - it’s far, far easier to use, it’s modern, it’s user-friendly, it’s clear. All the case and patient details are on one page, meaning that you can do more with it, and see more patients.”
Q: What is the next step?
A: With applications to the Elective Recovery Fund now open, we are here to answer any questions you have about ways in which our technology and services can help your organisation accelerate the return of normal elective care provision. Please get in touch with us to arrange a short call or simply email us your questions on firstname.lastname@example.org.