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Delivery guide supports NHS teams to meet requirements for early screening, risk assessment and health optimisation

Trusts and systems working to provide early screening, risk assessment and optimisation of adult patients waiting for surgery can now access a new delivery guide developed by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.

The new guide aims to support providers in implementing a system for all patients by the end of March 2024, as set out in the 2023/24 NHS Standard Contract.

The guidance recognises the challenges for providers in scheduling and providing a timely ‘to come in date’ (TCI) for patients on elective surgical lists; challenges which can impact on the NHS drive for elective recovery.

GIRFT’s work with clinical teams has highlighted the key factors which can help improve the flow of patients to surgery. These are early screening and optimisation; pre-operative assessment (POA) demand and capacity planning; and theatre scheduling and booking/waiting list management.

The new GIRFT guidance – intended for operational managers, clinical leads for surgery and peri-operative care, pre-operative assessment teams, waiting list co-ordinators, and scheduling and booking teams – offers principles and case studies to help teams develop the processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs) they need to improve in these areas, leading to more effective theatre utilisation and helping to meet the new requirements.

“Using this guide will give providers an opportunity to reflect on the challenges, while focusing on the interaction and communication between POA services and booking and scheduling teams. “It is important that this is shared with clinical, non-clinical and operational teams across the perioperative pathway and that the key principles are advocated.”

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