A new ‘one-stop’ service has been introduced between Head and Neck and Ultrasound (Imaging) at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust to improve patient experience.
The one-stop clinic, which is an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) service with Radiology support, means multiple appointments can be done in one session streamlined between two departments rather than be spread weeks apart. The sessions take place every other Monday morning.
The new service has been introduced following a collaboration between the ENT department and Imaging and is being carried out by Head and Neck ENT Consultant Surgeon Mr Emmanuel Diakos and Consultant Sonographer Mr Steve Klarich.
Professional Lead for Ultrasound and Deputy Professional Lead for Imaging Hayley Whitehouse said: “This is a minor change for the Imaging department, but it’s had such a big impact, with a massive improvement in patient experience.
“Ordinarily, a patient would see the consultant, who would tell them they need a scan, and go away.
“The consultant would then put a request in, and depending on the urgency, it could take anything from two to six weeks to have the scan. Then the patient would go back to clinic to receive their results.
Now Dr Diakos, who also has an special interest in thyroid surgery, triages all referrals along with cancer services at Walsall Manor, and the patient gets booked onto the one-stop neck lump clinic immediately.
Hayley added: “The patient sees the consultant surgeon and the sonographer on the same day, and they will have either a scan or a scan and a biopsy – as the sonographer can perform biopsies too – before returning to the clinic to undergo further tests.
“It means the patient receives a quicker diagnosis. So, for example, rather than sitting in the system, the consultant would see the patient who needs an urgent biopsy on that lump that same day.
“It means they have their tests all on the same day and prevents patients having to wait longer. It seems to be working well. Should someone have anything cancerous, they get seen quicker, so it’s beneficial to them.
“They will still have to wait for their biopsy results, but they don’t have to wait for their scan referral as it’s on the same day.”
“We’re really lucky at this Trust in that we’ve got Mr Diakos and Steve, who has extended his scope of practice with an interest in head and neck and does the job of a Radiologist,” added Hayley. “Not many hospitals have this role.”