Virtual Fracture Clinics launched yesterday (Monday 29 June) at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and Westmorland General Hospital (WGH) for new patients.
The Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC) is a new service designed to speed up access to orthopaedic trauma care.
Traditionally, patients who visited the RLI Emergency Department with orthopaedic injuries would require multiple hospital visits for face-to-face assessments and treatment.
Now, orthopaedic trauma patients will be referred to the VFC where the fracture clinic team will review cases within three days following attendance at the emergency department, with no need for the patient to attend the hospital for an assessment.
Clinicians will look at patient X-rays and medical notes, and an orthopaedic physiotherapist or specialist nurse will telephone to discuss treatment and management. Following the phone call, patients may be advised to have further X-rays, or discharged by phone or, if further specialist help is required, a referral will be made to the most appropriate clinic. Their GP will be informed accordingly.
If any patients are not available on the telephone, a letter will be sent directly to them detailing their treatment plan. This letter will also be sent to their GP.
Mr Tim Millar, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Although this is a new service for RLI and WGH, it is a well-established and a safe way to manage patients with more minor fractures. The Virtual Fracture Clinic model has been used by other trusts for many years and is hoped to be introduced at Furness General Hospital soon.
“Patients with fractures who are likely to require surgical treatment will still follow the inpatient pathway.”
When people first attend RLI’s Emergency Department with orthopaedic injuries, they will be given an advice leaflet which explains how the VFC service works and a hospital contact number if they have any queries. For any queries, please contact the RLI Virtual Fracture Clinic team on 01524 591410.
You can find out more information at https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/our-services/services/virtual-fracture-clinic
This new way of working is another example of Bay Health and Care Partners working together more effectively to provide better care in the community, which will keep people across Morecambe Bay healthier and at home for longer without having to come into hospital.