Case Study: Reduced waiting times and improved service user satisfaction

Reduced waiting times and improved service user satisfaction

In 2006 The NHS Fife Child Occupational Therapy Service had extensive waiting times (up to 96 weeks) and resulting high levels of user dissatisfaction. It faced considerable challenges in providing accessible, equitable and family-centred care.  The Care Aims Framework was adopted to address these issues, culminating in quality improvement initiatives over the following five years.

Assessment methods

The perceived benefits of the implementation of the Care Aims Framework were gathered from focused discussions at service development and training events.  Service audit data was collated from monthly statistical information.

Perceived benefits

  • Children and families empowered to manage their own health
  • Reduction of waiting times
  • Reduction in the number of children requiring assessment
  • Assessments tailored to individual user needs
  • Administrative staff used more effectively
  • More effective systems to facilitate discharge
  • Reduced proportion of missed appointments

Quantitative outcomes 

  • Number of children waiting to be assessed was more than halved in a two-year period, from an average of more than 200 per month to around 70 a month by 2008, with further reductions to around 40 a month by 2011, despite increasing or constant numbers of referrals and relatively constant staff levels.
  • Reduced waiting times: from up to 96 weeks to consistently fewer than 12 weeks.

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