Elective recovery and operational effectiveness

Transform patient flow with our industry leading strategies

NHS leaders face mounting challenges in managing patient flow. Overwhelmed A&E departments, prolonged ambulance wait times and excessive lengths of stay are clear signs that a system could benefit from expert input to increase its operational effectiveness.

A growing backlog of elective care is adding to the problem – the number of people waiting 18+ weeks for elective treatment is now 4.4 million – five times larger than it was in 2019. To respond to the elective recovery challenge, Trusts and Systems must optimise their patient flow and operational effectiveness. In the medium to long term, clear strategies and delivery plans are required for increasing capacity and reconfiguring pathways, but right now, short-term, tactical initiatives are what needed .

Addressing this backlog is an urgent government priority. Where organisations are already facing extreme challenges in patient flow, it becomes increasingly difficult to deliver on the elective recovery agenda. To create space to do this effectively, organisations must find tactical ways to deliver impact in the short term.

Our approach

Our team of experts have a wide range of experience in supporting elective recovery programmes, from strategy to data insights and operational delivery. They bring clinical expertise and a deep understanding of working within the NHS.

We combine this with an inclusive approach that’s rooted in shared experience, prioritising strong relationships and aligning leadership and frontline staff towards common goals. It is an approach that engages and empowers people while making it easy for them to do the right thing.
Partner with us to access:

  • Extensive operational expertise and knowledge grounded in real-world NHS challenges. We have delivered transformation at every level of the NHS, from Providers through to ICSs and national teams. Our advice has effected change in two thirds of ICSs and half of Trusts in the UK, and we are routinely hired by NHS executives.
  • Tactical planning and on-the ground delivery support to design and implement practical solutions that drive down waits, maximise booking and scheduling, increase theatre productivity and remove rapidly increase patient flow across the system. This also gives you headroom to consider strategic priorities in the medium term.
  • Industry-leading transformation advice – including innovative, practical and discrete solutions – to help you understand what can reasonably be achieved in your timeframe.
  • A pragmatic, empathetic and action-focused approach to problem-solving. Our aim is to transform your challenges into opportunities for growth, enhancing patient care and organisational efficiency in a manner that resonates with the core values of the NHS.
  • Award-winning data insights expertise and unparalleled access to benchmark data to help you identify the drivers of challenges in elective recovery, derive actionable insights and measure the impact of change.

Our initiatives are centred around three core themes – these are progressed in parallel to create a step change in performance:

  1. Establishing a shared, data-driven understanding of the position – and the required interventions to address this.
  2. Building clinical leadership and collective accountability.
  3. Increasing patient flow through optimising resources, processes and pathways.

Applying our approach through practical enablers in elective recovery:

Enabler: optimised processes and care pathways
How this is achieved:

  • Understand service interconnectivity to optimise use of capacity during surge periods.
  • Identify interdependent specialties and services – such as diagnostics, imaging and outpatient procedures – and develop solutions for improving these across whole pathways.
  • Develop standardised processes to streamline pathways and deliver targeted initiatives for different patient cohorts.

Enabler: data-driven insights and actions
How this is achieved:

  • Establish widespread understanding of the waiting list at site and specialty level, for clarity on the actions needed to meet demand and to support co-ownership of solutions.
  • Build in-depth knowledge of the blockers to patient flow through detailed analysis of the pathways.
  • Set up a dedicated tactical delivery unit and identify the metrics needed to measure success.

Enabler: effective clinical ownership
How this is achieved:

  • Restore clinical ownership of patients, lists and processes for more effective triaging and scheduling.
  • Empower clinical representatives and leadership to develop and mobilise new pathways or initiatives.
  • Harness the strength in working relationships between clinical and administrative teams to support

Enabler: leveraged digital solutions
How this is achieved:

  • Embed integrated data with robust validation procedures for a ‘single version of the truth’, to inform decision making.
  • Adopt evidence-based digital solutions to optimise processes, such as automation of routine appointments and waiting list validation / prioritisation tools.
  • Implement digital tools to identify opportunities, target focused interventions and measure outcomes.

Enabler: optimised resource allocation
How this is achieved:

  • Use data and digital solutions to understand patient cohort sizes to maximise flexible resource utilisation.
  • Establish clear site identities and optimise elective hub use by identifying the right blend of specialties and procedures, carrying out the right procedure in the right place.
  • Adopt novel care models that make the best use of existing resources and consider flexible ways to deploy the workforce.

Enabler: utilisation of national incentives
How this is achieved:

  • Maximise use of national initiatives such as Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) and the national support available to deliver these.
  • Research and leverage opportunities related to national priorities to deliver transformation programmes, such as alternative models of care.

Our expert team

Dr Jo Andrews

Kevin Atkin

Dr Zahra Safarfashandi

Phil Livingstone

Lisi Hu

To speak to one of our specialists about improving health systems to transform service delivery, contact us today.