Activity data for April and May 2021 by BMA illustrates the continued disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NHS care.
The BMA estimates that between April 2020 and March 2021 there were:
- 5 million fewer elective procedures;
- 27 million fewer outpatient attendances.
Reported by the BMJ in primary care, the total number of general practice appointments in April to August 2020, compared to the same period in 2019 fell by 20.8%, in excess of 25 million patients.
Healthcare in the UK has extraordinary challenges, not least the conclusion of acute pandemic treatment and vaccination to dealing with the widely reported backlogs.
Inevitably, and with the help of ‘pandemic friendly’ new consultation practices such as Attend Anywhere and telephone appointments, bit-by-bit the increased demand will be seen and treated, albeit disadvantaging some.
NHS transcription backlog
So how can administration teams in the NHS keep up with demand and avoid extra delays to the transcription process?
Administrative workers, or indeed workers in all sectors have built up significant holiday entitlement, especially during lockdown where furlough was imposed or it simply being undesirable to take holidays during this period.
We now have, and especially in healthcare, reached a stage where there is a backlog of demand, with a workforce that could be diminishing via holidays or by other means.
The risk is as the patient backlog is dealt with, the essential correspondence; to colleagues, primary care referrals, appointment notifications etc. is further delayed and corrupts the recovery process.
Accuro’s speech-to-text service
“Organisations should anticipate this potential bottleneck and look at flexible, interim solutions that can react quickly to preserve the patient journey” says Gordon Healiss, Director of Accuro.
Accuro works alongside both primary and secondary care to support their medical transcription and ensure correspondence is not delayed.
As an overflow (daily or weekly), audio is securely transcribed to the very highest standard using only UK based transcribers, all of whom have a minimum of 3 years’ experience in the NHS.
Working with Trusts and hundreds of GP surgeries across the UK, Accuro provides medical speech-to-text services, either human transcription or proofread voice recognition. It is free to access and users only pay for audio uploaded.
“So not only are correspondence backlogs totally avoidable, but the potential of backlogs is also removed as the system is free to access so can be implemented and tested with no associated costs“.
Gordon continues, “operational teams are likely to be stretched as patient numbers increase and potentially in-house support services decrease. If sites are already under pressure or foresee a problem, we would welcome the opportunity to talk to operational managers to offer support and peace of mind and allow backlogs to be processed efficiently”.