DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.101 ISSN:

397 The Effects of a Virtual Specialist Nurse-Led Clinic on Plastics Outpatient Services at a Major Trauma Centre: A Closed Loop Audit

H Lacey, K Bernard, I King
  • Surgery



To reduce the number of plastic surgery clinics working over capacity due to the effects of both increasing caseload and the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing a virtual specialist nurse-led clinic.


Outpatient activity was audited due to the number of patients being overbooked into the plastic surgery outpatient clinics. A virtual specialist nurse-led clinic was implemented to bridge gaps between appointments, maintain early triaging of complications, and reduce clinics working over-capacity. Suitable patients were identified and offered virtual follow-up in place of face-to-face appointments. Outpatient activity was re-audited after implementation, to assess effects on force bookings and number of new/follow-ups seen in consultant clinics.


Following virtual clinic implementation, there was a significant reduction in consultant clinics working over-capacity (95% to 71.8%, p = 0.002) and forced bookings (54 to 10, p = 0.006) in the audited period. The average number of new patients seen in consultant clinics each month increased by 15.3% (p = 0.019).


Introduction of a virtual clinic reduced forced bookings and clinics working over-capacity. This increased capacity for new patients to be seen face-to-face, created a manageable clinic while maintaining early identification of complications, and reduced delays between clinic appointments. Early virtual assessment of wounds and identification of complications enabled patients to be booked into urgent face-to-face plastic appointments, triaging them away from A&E and GP services. The virtual clinic also allowed the team to reassure patients with ongoing concerns between appointments, further reducing A&E and GP burden.

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