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Out-Patient Departments

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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39.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether any initiatives are being taken to improve out-patient departments.

The following initiatives have been taken by the Department to improve out-patient departments:i.

Out-patient Demonstration Projects—Aims

As part of the Government's drive to raise quality standards in hospitals, the Department is supporting six demonstration projects in out-patient departments at a total cost of £750,000. The aim is to improve the quality of services and make them more responsive to the needs of consumers by providing care in pleasant physical surroundings with better facilities, clear information to patients and effective appointment systems. The first results will be disseminated as good practice advice to the health service later this year.

ii Demonstration Projects to be Funded 1990–91

Some five more projects are likely to be funded in 1990–91. Health authorities and units will be informed in June 1990 which projects have been selected.

iii. Waiting Times in Out-patients

A report issued in December 1989 on "Reducing Waiting Time in Out-patient Departments' is now being followed up by development of a visual simulation package to assist NHS out-patient departments in planning efficient appointment systems.

iv. Role of Nurses and other Non-Medical Staff in Out-patients

A departmental study report on "The Role of Nurses and other Non-Medical Staff in Out-patient Departments" was issued to health authorities in March 1990. The report contains proposals for changing the skill mix of qualified and non-qualified staff better to reflect the nature of tasks undertaken and to make the best use of available resources.