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RCPs team without walls’ vision

Friday 14th August 2015
The Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP) best practice is proving effective when it comes to improving patient care. Image Credit: skynesher
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A new model of how doctors should work in teams is proving to be an effective way of improving patient care, according to initial findings.

The best practice model, developed by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), is helping specialist doctors to find the patients that need their unique expertise the most.

‘A team without walls’ is the latest case study of how the approach can work in an everyday hospital situation. The integrated respiratory team (IRT) at King’s Health Partners works by bringing specialist care to patients, rather than the other way around.

It ensures that patients in the local community who have been diagnosed with a long-term lung condition, and their carers, receive a high standard of care when they need it wherever they are. A crucial part of this is ensuring that the variety of services often required by these patients are coordinated to work together in their best interests.

The team helps patients recover more quickly and closer to home, after they have been admitted into hospital. This is possible because each member of the team is trained in collaborative care planning to support patients to support them in reaching their individual goals.

The impact of the service has been a significant reduction in medication, which has resulted in a considerable cost saving.

According to the clinical commissioning group (CCG), the method has caused an estimated financial saving of £200,000 in 12 months, which has been reinvested in high-value treatments.

Dr Irem Patel, the respiratory consultant who leads the service, said: "After reading the Future Hospital Commission report we realised that the work we were currently undertaking fitted with many of the aims of the programme.

"When the 'Tell us your story' initiative launched, we saw it as a great opportunity to tell others about the work we are doing whilst also gaining new ideas from others. Ultimately, if we are to meet the needs of patients with long-term conditions, we need to change the way we think and the systems we work in."

The IRT aims to help respiratory patients get the personalised care they need the first time, which involves engaging with multiple healthcare professionals whether they be GPs or occupational therapists.

It is hoped that this will help those who are most vulnerable such as housebound patients comma as the team can be called in by their GP for a planned joint review.

Dr Anita Donley, clinical vice president and chair of the Future Hospital Programme led by the RCP, hailed the work at King’s as a "prime example" of how hospital services can adapt to meet the needs of patients now and in the future.

Written by Martin Lambert

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