business– A North Ferriby technology firm has been appointed by HMP Wandsworth to help ease the pressure on the NHS – by keeping inmates out of hospital.
The London lock-up – the second largest in England with more than 1,500 prisoners – is pioneering the use of GP referral technology created by Kinesis Advice and Guidance.
It allows doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals working within Wandsworth to request information directly from NHS consultants.
Expert advice is received within 48 hours compared to record-long hospital waiting times and can be viewed on any device, anywhere.
In most cases treatment will be delivered by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust’s prison-based clinical team reducing the need for hospital treatment.
HMP Wandsworth, a category B unit in South West London, is the first prison in the UK to use the specialist GP referral software to ease pressure and disruption on hospitals.
Kinesis A&G is already routinely used by almost 3,000 GPs and 850 consultants across the UK.
So far it has prevented 47,500 unnecessary hospital appointments, saving the NHS an estimated £8 million in direct referrals and more than £20 million when all costs are included.
Simon Hudson, director, said: “The traditional system of GPs referring patients to hospitals is unnecessarily costing the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds annually. It can be drastically reduced simply by GPs being able to communicate directly with consultants.
“This online platform gives them a clear, fast route and also improves their skills to help future patients.
“It is incredibly easy to use, GPs grasp it after 15 minutes of training and the benefits are enormous.
“GPs can treat patients quicker and more directly which is what they want while consultants see a higher proportion of really important cases that genuinely need their specialist help.
“More crucially than ever considering the effects of Covid-19, it reduces the strain on NHS hospital resources.”
There are 123.4 million hospital referrals annually and Kinesis A&G’s data suggests 63 per cent could be treated by their GPs without need for an appointment.
If just a quarter of unnecessary referrals were stopped, NHS England would save more than half a billion pounds each year.
Clinical lead for Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust at HMP Wandsworth, Dr Alex Bunn, said: “Kinesis A&G brings great benefits to the prison population, has potential to reduce waiting lists and provides continuous professional development.
“As a service, healthcare teams are keen to innovate and make better use of technology to cope with the diverse and complex medical cases prison clinicians face daily.
“Advice and guidance improves clinical certainty. We can give patients the right advice from the right person immediately and if they do need hospital treatment, they are referred to the most appropriate department first time.”
Kinesis A&G’s other clients include a range of clinical commissioning groups that organise the delivery of NHS services.
These include Wandsworth CCG, Merton CCG, Kingston CCG, Richmond CCG, West Kent CCG and Surrey CCG.