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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Phone reminders help north Cumbria hospitals save £24,000

Hospitals are saving £24,000 a month thanks to a telephone reminder service for people having planned surgery.

It means the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, now have fewer patients not attending.

The reminder calls asks whether the patient will be attending their day surgery and therefore helps to ensure operating theatres are used more productively.

It is part of major changes taking place at both hospitals to improve experiences for patients – those who attend as an emergency and those for a planned procedure.

One of the other aims is for emergency patients to be seen by a senior doctor within an hour of attending the hospital to start making a diagnosis, discuss treatment and keep the patient informed.

Olu Orugun, a consultant physician at West Cumberland Hospital, is leading the emergency side of the project at the Whitehaven hospital.

He said: “It’s a whole culture change in how we, as doctors, work, with a senior decision maker seeing the patient first.

“We are really excited about this project because it is really focused on the patient.”

Changes have already started to be made.

On the elective flow project (planned operations and procedures) the capacity of staff and operating theatres to meet the demand of patients is being better aligned, as well as the telephone reminder service.

Other organisations are also involved in the project including GP commissioners, Cumbria Partnership Trust and out-of-hours doctors (Cumbria Health on Call).

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