Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System

NHS teams across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are to trial new ways of working to help develop a blueprint for restoring routine NHS care after the pandemic, as part of a new plan unveiled yesterday (13 May 2021).

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (BLMK ICS) has been chosen as one of 13 areas nationally to receive a share of £160m in funding and extra support to implement and evaluate innovative ways to increase the number of elective operations they deliver.

Over the next three months, the local NHS will be exploring a range of ideas which can be rapidly delivered to benefit patients, such as:

  • Extended waiting list initiatives to increase activity including evening and weekend working
  • Enabling the provision of short term pop-up premises to deliver ‘Outpatient Convention Centre’
  • Workforce Innovation and new ways of working in diagnostics and theatres
  • Expanding Imaging and diagnostic capacity
  • Fast track specific pilots for new and alternative ways of working across different services

Learning on what works well in the BLMK ICS and the other ‘elective accelerator’ sites will then help form a blueprint for elective recovery which can be used across the country.

Dr Ed Sivills, interim medical director, BLMK ICS, said:

“Treating so many COVID patients over the past year along with additional safety measures has inevitably had a knock-on effect on non-urgent care, but with the virus in retreat thanks to the extraordinary success of the NHS vaccination programme, our mission now is to rapidly recover routine services.

“If you have been putting off seeking care and you are worried, please do come forward – the NHS has been open throughout the pandemic and we have measures in place to see you safely.”

As part of recovery plans for elective care announced in March, GPs, specialists and their teams are focusing on those on the waiting in most urgent clinical need and who have been waiting longest.

The aim is that by the end of July all areas will provide over 85% of the levels of activity seen in 2019.