Survey for Outpatients Transformation Programme extended until 21 June

7 June 2019

A live survey asking residents at outpatient clinics in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley about their experiences, has been extended until Friday 21 June. The survey, originally scheduled to end on June 9, is intended to provide a live overview of current patient experience and how their experiences can be improved. CCG staff have been surveying patients face to face during the week. We also want to encourage more local people to complete the survey and therefore have  extended the deadline for another two weeks. Please give us your views by completing our online survey

The NHS Long Term Plan outlines a commitment to redesign outpatient services nationally to avoid up to a third of traditional outpatient appointments saving patients 30 million trips to hospital, improving communication and the overall experience.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG are therefore working in partnership to transform outpatients locally, to improve access, waiting times and experience for local patients.

The NHS Long Term Plan states that outpatients traditionally serve at least three purposes, and in each case there are opportunities for redesign. An outpatient appointment can provide:

  • Advice and diagnosis for a patient and their GP;
  • Follow-up review after a hospital procedure; and
  • Ongoing specialist input into a long-term condition.

Technology means an outpatient appointment is often no longer the fastest or most accurate way of providing specialist advice on diagnosis or ongoing patient care. The below diagram outlines the findings of the Royal College of Physicians, who have rightly argued that outpatients needs a radical overhaul:


In some hospitals patients are already benefitting from the redesign of outpatient services. These include:

  • Better support to GPs to avoid the need for a hospital referral (including direct access to quick consultant advice)
  • Online booking systems
  • Appointments closer to home, making better use of community services and facilities
  • Alternatives to traditional appointments where appropriate, including digital and telephone appointments, avoiding patients having to travel to unnecessary face to face appointments.

These examples are better for patients, supports more productive use of consultant time and enables the capacity of outpatient clinics to be used more efficiently.

Why not read the section within the Long Term Plan that talks about transforming outpatients.

Your views will help us improve the experience of patients attending local outpatient clinics so please spread the word.

We thank you in advance for your support, and will publish the results of the survey later this month.