Our single point of access (SPA) for patients and healthcare professionals – one year on…

29 Jan 2019 Oliver.kelham

It’s now been a year since Bristol Community Health launched its innovative single point of access (SPA) for patients and healthcare professionals – the first 24 hour community referral service in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG). Currently, 50% of our services receive referrals through SPA.

Feedback from patients told us accessing our services and contacting our healthcare teams was difficult. GPs reported that our referral system was tough to navigate and too time consuming to refer to our services. And, our clinical teams were struggling to manage the increasing numbers of patient phone calls and GP referrals, causing inevitable delays to patients receiving care and speaking to healthcare professionals.

That’s why we set up SPA – a telephone referral centre and a digital referral platform – to communicate more effectively and efficiently with patients and healthcare professionals from primary, acute and secondary care settings, resulting in better access to our services. It also empowers patients to take control of their own health, wellbeing and clinical care. The 70 strong team is made up of nurses, physiotherapists, healthcare assistants and administrators.

For many patients who are feeling vulnerable and lonely the sound of a friendly voice at a time where they need support and advice can be hugely reassuring. Patients can now speak to a clinician over the phone or be visited in their home 24 hours a day, including accessing information about their appointments and/or their clinical records. The team’s priority is to support and care for patients and friends and/or families when they are facing end-of-life. We also arrange clinical visits for urgent call outs 24 hours a day.

Job Wooster, Clinical Service Manager said “GPs and other primary care professionals can now see full patient records, so they can track patient progression through our services. In the last 12 months SPA has taken over 37,000 referrals.”

SPA now provides our teams with a platform to manage capacity when services are under pressure, collate detailed caseload information to help us better plan our services and business continuity when major incidents occur, and puts real time clinical triage at the front end of our clinical services – removing inefficiencies so we create more time to care.

This is a relatively simple solution, but it’s had a massive impact – with an overall patient satisfaction of 86%. We’re a forward thinking organisation, always looking to integrate technology in to our services to ensure that we are delivering efficient and effective patient care and well-being services.

You can contact Bristol Community Health’s SPA on:

  • For healthcare professionals 0117 9030202
  • For patients 0117 3773356

Further information on our referral processes can be found here: https://bit.ly/2sOMW5o