Connect Health Physioline service in West Herts

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Hertfordshire undertook mystery shopping about the services provided by Connect Health which provides a local integrated musculoskeletal service in West Hertfordshire., following a deep dive by the local CCG, who had heard about delays to treatment, a rise in complaints and a rise in quality alerts as Connect Health had received 40% more referrals than was originally expected by HVCCG.

Healthwatch Hertfordshire undertook a mystery shopping exercise, working with Connect Health to develop two dummy patient records.  They also undertook a survey to which 28 people responded about the service provided at the local clinic.

Overall volunteers had very positive experiences of the Connect Health PhysioLine service both with the booking of the appointments and with the clinical telephone consultation. Calls to the Patient Care Co-Ordination Centre were answered promptly and the volunteers felt that the operators gave a high level of service with a professional but friendly manner.

A gap in the records (no email address for one of the dummy records) was picked up by the operator and both callers reported that all GDPR requirements were correctly followed. The ‘patients’ waited less than a week for their clinical telephone consultation appointments. The clinical telephone consultations were also on time and handled professionally and empathetically.

There were 3 recommendations from the mystery shopping exercise, including information about the service, setting a standard time to call and ensuring that clinicians ask about the patient’s support network.

Overall, the patients completing the questionnaires had a good experience with the service. Many were highly complementary of the health professionals at Connect Health and their GP or consultant who referred them. This snapshot of patient views appears to confirm the initial feedback that led to this review as the few long-term patients expressed frustration with continuity of care and difficulties getting through to staff on the telephone. There is also no doubt that the pandemic has had an impact on people’s experiences of care. However, the improvements that Connect Health put in place at the beginning of 2020 seems to have positively impacted on patient experience both with call handling resulting in prompt appointments and with the clinical expertise that patients felt could be trusted.

There were four recommendations about providing detailed workout plans, ensuring that patients have information on how to get to the clinic, clarify what future arrangements there may be to support patients that find it difficult to travel to Wolsey House Clinic and provide information to patients about their treatment during lockdown.

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General details

Report title 
Connect Health Physioline service in West Herts
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hertfordshire
Date of publication 
Thursday, 29 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Sunday, 1 November, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 30 November, 2020
Key themes 
Administration
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Integration of services
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Observation
Survey
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
N/A

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Physiotherapy

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Musculosceletal conditions

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
28
Age group 
Not known
Gender 
Not known
Ethnicity 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
No
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Positive

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Yes
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible impact (not cost related)

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.