New waiting times methodology for community services
The PSC Performance team supported Sussex Community Foundation Trust to improve how waiting times are recorded, reported, and managed.
In close partnership with clinical and operational staff at Sussex Community Foundation Trust, The PSC Performance team worked to:
1. Design and pilot a standardised waiting times methodology, identifying what data the Trust needed to collect to inform operational review, improvement, and planning
2. Collaborate with Trust leadership and pilot services to ensure clinical and operational suitability for a community services setting and digital feasibility
3. Manage the design of subsequent programme roll-out
1. Designing and piloting a standardised wait times methodology
The PSC engaged with clinical and operational leads to co-design an innovative maximum waiting times methodology that can be applied to diverse community services in order to provide better visibility of clinical risks associated with waiting times and proactive flagging of potential waiting times breaches.
Informed by a rapid gap analysis of existing data capture and reporting, we co-identified i) 5 key patient waits which the Trust needed to monitor and ii) a methodology for applying clinically-appropriate maximum waiting times for each wait, dependent on patients’ levels of clinical risk.
2. Collaborating with Trust leadership and pilot services
The team validated and refined the approach with 5 diverse community services teams, engaging c.50 clinical and operational representatives via 10 workshops. Close engagement with senior clinical and operational leadership ensured the methodology would also be applicable across further services.
3. Programme management and design of roll-out
The team used The PSC’s rigorous, light-touch programme management tools with Trust colleagues to scope 5 implementation workstreams and map programme-level success factors, risks, governance, and interdependencies. The team also developed key assets (e.g. programme plan; toolkit for applying the methodology) and ran handover sessions to equip Trust teams to progress workstreams confidently and at pace.
This work produced a new way of managing patient wait times which will help the Trust realise a number of benefits for services and patients:
- Improved patient access to services (shorter waits and reduced clinical risk associated with waiting)
- Equality of provision (e.g. by reviewing systematic differences between cohorts’ waiting times) service-level, Trust-level, and commissioner planning
Feedback from Trust staff included that the project was “a really positive experience, I can’t emphasise enough the impact that it has had" and involved "[an] amazing amount of work, and great engagement".