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Effective planning of patient services in Birmingham

  • Geographical analysis has allowed us to visually identify the locations of GP practices in relation to our Trust and their practice size, which has enabled us to predict the volume of activity from these areas.

    Steve Waller, General Manager Pathology

Ordnance Survey digital mapping data is making a major difference to the effective planning of patient services at the Heart of England NHS® Foundation Trust in Birmingham.

The challenge

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is one of the country’s largest health care organisations, with a patient population of over one million. The trust serves a diverse area across the Midlands, stretching from Birmingham to South Staffordshire and includes three hospitals, a specialist chest clinic and a comprehensive range of community health services. With such a large area to cover, defining the trust’s catchment area is a complex process, particularly when the NHS landscape is changing so rapidly. Having access to up-to-date and accurate geographic information is essential both to plan future health services and to monitor their quality and efficiency.

An expansion of the trust’s medical laboratory facilities, based at Heartlands Hospital in Bordesley Green, created an opportunity for the organisation to offer a better service to patients, and encourage more GPs to use the new testing services. The 18-month building programme has created world-class clinical support facilities, including a state-of-the-art fully-automated laboratory with specialist testing facilities, including a molecular diagnostics suite. As a result, the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust wanted to promote the new centre to local GPs, who were unaware of the increased capacity and the expertise available.

The solution

The Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) introduced in April 2011 allows all public sector organisations across England and Wales to use a wide range of geographic datasets, including OS MasterMap® and OS VectorMap® Local. Most of the information is available online and as the PSMA is a nationally-negotiated centrally-funded agreement, there is no additional cost for individual agencies to subscribe. The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust was one of the first health care organisations to register for the PSMA and has been taking full advantage of Ordnance Survey resources to accurately plan its services.

Using geographic information, the trust’s planning and development policy team pinpointed the organisation’s catchment area to a 20 minute drive time around each of its three acute centres. The team then identified the current GPs who were referring tests to LabMed and went on to map surgeries that were in the hospital’s catchment area but not using the medical testing facilities. By analysing the results, the trust was able to promote LabMed services more widely and, more importantly, more accurately.

The benefits

  • More accurate planning of trust services to GPs in a correctly-defined catchment area.
  • Ensure the increased capacity of LabMed is fully utilised by local GPs.
  • Better value for money and use of resources.
  • More GPs referring tests to the trust.
  • Quicker and more efficient results for patients.

The products used

Download this case study PDF – 738kB


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