In this project, we explored how to introduce Virtual Fracture Clinics (VFCs) to a modestsized orthopaedic department at West Middlesex University Hospital, London from November 2014. The unit is comprised of six consultants and two associate specialists, and six registrars, providing orthopaedic services – excluding major trauma level care – in West London.
We wanted to introduce VFCs to reduce the number of unnecessary face-to-face (FTF) consultations for simple orthopaedic injuries referred to the department from Accident and Emergency (A&E), and two Urgent Care Centres – one within the same hospital and another at Teddington Memorial Hospital. We aimed to transition to reviewing at least 50% of new outpatient referrals in VFCs by May 2015, and sustain this service at not less than 50% for the subsequent year, till May 2016. We envisaged concurrent positive effects on patient experience, the waiting time between referral and consultation, and fracture clinic capacity, but this was outside the remit of this study.
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