The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. Through research and analysis, they regularly publish reports on the NHS which are intended to promote understanding of the health and care system; and help shape policy and practice. One of their most recent publications, ‘Organising care at the NHS front line’, discusses collaboration challenges within the NHS.
One of the key problems stated at the start of the report is “Care for acutely ill medical patients is delivered by teams of clinicians, including doctors from different specialities. These teams require information about patients’ medical histories and test results that may not be readily available. Consultants responsible for these patients are usually not in contact with the patients’ GPs. These consultants may also encounter difficulties in communication with other consultants within their hospital and with colleagues in transferring hospitals”
After shadowing a general physician during his ward round to gain some understanding of the experience of frontline clinicians, The King’s Fund spoke of some problems they noticed. Despite the clinicians’ deep commitment to providing the best possible care, they faced difficulties in communicating with other staff members. These challenges were:
- Communicating with GPs about their patients who are admitted to hospital
- Communicating within the hospital between acute medical staff, A&E staff and different specialist teams
- Communicating with staff in other hospitals when patients are transferred
The report also reveals the perspective from GP’s, which focuses mainly on communication with hospitals. They state that for GP’s, it can be difficult to get through to hospital colleagues for advice and clarification. The report claims that virtually all of the GP’s they spoke to believe that when hospital doctors and GP’s collaborate, it seems to be a positive experience for the clinicians involved and the patient.
In the conclusion, the report says “collaboration and co-ordination are essential if patients are to receive the best possible care. Staff need to have sufficient time to care and to co-ordinate the treatment of patients who often have complex medical conditions that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.”
It is essential NHS staff are provided with the facilities and technology to be able to collaborate effectively. Immedicare is a world-class provider of clinical healthcare services, delivered via telemedicine.
Through our digital care hub based at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, we support, advise and connect patients, carers, nurses and clinicians across a full range of healthcare specialties and clinical needs. The technology that provides this collaboration between different parts of the NHS can revolutionise patient care.