Make no bones about it... we're offering faster fracture care and fewer waits

CHFT has introduced new faster fracture care.

Patients at CHFT are getting more specialist and faster care for broken bones thanks to an innovative new service.

The ‘virtual fracture clinic’  (VFC) means that appropriate patients can receive the help and advice they need without unnecessary follow-up appointments at the hospital, while those with more complex fractures can see a specialist doctor sooner.

Traditionally patients suffering suspected fractures attend A&E for an x-ray and initial treatment and then, assuming there is a break, all of them return to the fracture clinic for assessment by a doctor, who will decide if they need specialist treatment or can be discharged. 

There is a lot of demand on the fracture clinic service and patients can often face lengthy waits before they are seen by a doctor, who may only need to give advice on how the patient can care for the fracture themselves at home.

In the new VFC service, all patient x-rays and notes from A&E attendances are examined and reviewed virtually by an orthopaedic consultant. Where appropriate, patients are then contacted by telephone and provided with further advice and guidance on how to manage their fracture, without the need for an appointment.

There has been a reduction in unnecessary fracture clinic appointments since the new service started, reducing waiting times, as well as less crowding in the clinic and reduced costs. Patients getting a ‘virtual’ follow-up appointment, as well as those seeing an orthopaedic consultant for their follow-up, now receive their first follow-up treatment plan within approximately 2-4 days instead of 4-7 days. 

Sally Baumanis, our VFC specialist nurse,  said: " For more serious fractures, face-to-face consultations are still the best option. But in other cases the virtual solution is better for both the patient and the clinic.

"It is a safe, proven way to help patients with certain injuries and avoids unnecessary appointments, provides faster care and information to the patient, and cuts waiting times for those who do need appointments.

"Initial feedback from patients has proved to be very positive as a lot of patients think its brilliant and are happy not to have to travel to hospital. However if a patient has any concerns we will always offer them a face to face appointment if they wish. "