Innovative working helps children with eczema be seen sooner

Hospitals are finding new ways to use specialist staff to reduce waiting times and improve the care of patients.

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Advanced nurse practitioner specialist in dermatology, Nicola Housam, is one of only a few specialist nurses in the country who can manage the full journey of new dermatology patients on her own.

This frees up the time of consultants to see and treat more complex cases, reduces waiting times, and improves the patient experience.

It is just one of the many ways in which ULHT is tackling staffing shortages in key areas, by training other staff to take on some responsibilities.

Nicola took a masters course in advanced nursing in practice which included training in non-medical prescribing. This set her up to be able to prescribe and to carry out assessment and diagnosis at Lincoln County Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital, Boston and Grantham and District Hospital.

As a result of Nicola’s appointment, patients are seeing an improved service, with much shorter waiting times for children to see a specialist in particular. Children used to wait around six months, and now they have to wait a fraction of the time. It also means these patients are seen in the county, rather than having to travel outside of Lincolnshire for their care.

“The business unit were really supportive of the idea of changing things within the service to benefit our patients, and the consultants were delighted as I am now freeing them up to work on the more complex cases,” said Nicola.

“I now see patients with certain conditions. I see a lot of children with eczema and other patients with acne and psoriasis in particular.”