NHS Lanarkshire has agreed plans to improve its Treatment Room Service following an extensive review and engagement process.
The NHS Lanarkshire Board approved proposals to improve the quality of care provided by treatment rooms by standardising practice and increasing the available appointments for patients at its meeting on 28 September 2011.
Treatment Room Service
Treatment rooms provide practical hands-on treatments and interventions such as injections, leg ulcer management, wound management, dressings and specimen collection. The majority of patients attend the Treatment Room Service to have blood taken (phlebotomy). People can be referred to the Treatment Room Service by their GP, district nurse, or by a nurse or doctor at an acute hospital. Treatment rooms are usually based in health centres and are staffed by phlebotomists, registered nurses and support workers. Most treatment room staff are employed by NHS Lanarkshire and are separate from GP practice nurses. A small number of GP practices provide their own treatment room services, and will continue to do so.
Review and Engagement Process
NHS Lanarkshire launched an engagement process in May 2011 to seek comments from the public, staff, GPs, MSPs and councillors and other stakeholders about the Treatment Room Service proposals.
As a result of the feedback received, a number of key changes were made to ensure the right model of service for patients across Lanarkshire. This included an increase in treatment bases from the number originally proposed.
NHS Lanarkshire is grateful to everyone who took the time to send in their comments, attend the stakeholder event and take part in meetings as part of the treatment room engagement process. This feedback has helped ensure the final service model will deliver a high quality and effective treatment room service to patients.
The Treatment Room Service review began in 2010 and included involvement from members of the public partnership forums, staff working in the service and GPs. Treatment rooms in Cambuslang and Rutherglen were not included in the review process. The review found that:
- The numbers of treatment rooms, operating hours and range of treatments varied from locality to locality across Lanarkshire
- District nurses were assisting the service which reduced their ability to care for housebound patients
- Patients sometimes waited a long time on arrival
- Some patients who went to the treatment room for phlebotomy also attended Keep Well, the coronary heart disease anticipatory care programme leading to duplication
New Service Model
To address the issues raised during the review and engagement process the proposals being implemented include the following:
- Allocating resources fairly across Lanarkshire, allowing the numbers and location of treatment rooms in each locality to be based on the needs of the local population
- District Nursing will no longer be involved in treatment rooms – increasing their time to see housebound patients
- All treatment rooms provide the same core clinical interventions
- The health screening element of Keep Well is incorporated into the Treatment Room Service, increasing access across Lanarkshire
- The core Treatment Room Service operates Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
- A system of appointments is established with some availability for urgent appointments
The service model for each locality in Lanarkshire can be found on pages 15-18 of the document titled “Treatment Room Services Appendix A September 2011 Board” which also contains the full detail of the agreed proposals. The paper is available here.
The changes are being introduced over a two-year period from September 2011. The new core treatment room services and the integration of Keep Well have already taken place during 2012. Changes to the treatment room bases are currently being rolled out across NHS Lanarkshire and this is expected to be complete by September 2013.