Smiles All Round

Smiles All Round

In the last issue of Staff News we featured the role of a ‘virtual clinic’ which is being trialled in arthroplasty as part of the ‘Creating Capacity to Care Challenge’. The scheme is designed to help release valuable appointment time and free up inpatient beds.

Since then, other departments, including orthodontics and urology, have taken up the challenge.

Wearing a dental retainer after orthodontic treatment helps keep teeth straight, but can also take some time for a patient to get used to. For example, clicking the brace in and out with the tongue can cause the brace to break.

Patients are usually monitored for two years after orthodontic treatment before being discharged to a dentist. This is achieved through six-monthly check-ups in outpatient clinics at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Now however, trials are being undertaken to help people avoid having to make the journey to hospital.

Following a pilot study in 2016, around 15 patients were sent a letter advising them to expect a telephone consultation. People contacted by phone were asked by a nurse if they still wore the retainer regularly, did it still fit well and was it broken or cracked. Only two or three of the 15 felt they needed to come into hospital for a face-to-face appointment.

Orthodontic Consultant Craig Dunbar said feedback from the study was positive and further ‘virtual clinics’ are planned.

Within the Urology Department, people with kidney stones who need six-monthly or annual follow-up checks are being sent a letter asking them to pop in for an X-ray within a two week time frame. The X-rays are then viewed and only those who need further treatment are being given a hospital appointment.

Consultant Urological Surgeon Craig McIlhenny says around 80 patients have been contacted and very few have needed to be seen face-to-face.  He explained: “The plan is that instead of being able to see 15 patients a session, I will be able to see up to 40. It means patients will no longer have to come into an outpatient clinic, then be sent for an X-ray, and have to come back so I can view the result. Now they can have an X-ray at a time convenient to them.”

To find out more about the Capacity to Care Challenge or register your project visit the staff intranet

Spring 2017 Developments & Innovations