Validating NHS waiting lists

Urgent call from NHS England to validate outpatient pathways

Trusts are under pressure to deliver more timely care to patients, as waiting lists in the NHS reach a record high. Two thirds of people waiting for care are non-admitted and these outpatient and diagnostic pathways are now the focus of efforts to expand elective capacity.

In August 2023, NHS England’s Sir Jim Mackey wrote to Trusts urging them to “drive outpatient recovery at pace”, calling for boards to revisit plans on outpatient productivity and identify more opportunities for transformation.

As part of this directive Mackey called for full validation of RTT waiting lists, setting a deadline of 31 October 2023 for Trusts to put plans in place. He called on trusts to include use of MBI’s LUNA national data quality system (or similar) to address data quality errors and identify cohorts of patients that need further administrative and clinical validation.

In 2023, the LUNA national data quality system has helped achieve a 65% reduction in the number of RTT pathways with one or more data quality issues.

Validation can free up capacity and increase productivity

Healthcare professionals know how delays to care can affect patient outcomes. Bringing down waiting times is a priority for all of us, and we see opportunities for validation and better-quality data to expand elective care capacity in the NHS.

Those managing elective care are under pressure and have difficult decisions to make to reduce waiting lists. Validating patient records is key to this, providing confidence in the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data underlying decisions.

Barry Mulholland, Partner, MBI

Quality data is a key component to expanding elective capacity.  With accurate information at their fingertips, healthcare staff will be able to make better decisions and deliver better patient care.

MBI – A trusted partner to validate NHS waiting lists

The directive from NHS England provides both an opportunity and a challenge for healthcare professionals. There is money on offer to Trusts that can quickly develop plans for validation and show they will employ it effectively to improve care. However, with strains on capacity, an urgent need to act, and a lack of coordinated workstreams, this is no easy task.

Despite these barriers, Trusts are making progress and getting plans approved and projects underway, many of them with support from MBI.

“During the first 12 months of using [MBI’s) ROVA the number of validations conducted across the Trust has increased by 36% on the previous year, which identified over 27,000 clock stops for action. This has led to an improved assurance of data quality and patient safety.”

Jason Teoh, Director of Data & Analytics, University Hospital Southampton

We provide validation services to more than 50 NHS Trusts, employing both technology and teams on and off site. Our advisory team not only helps Trusts to get their validation projects up and running, but also to help Trusts sustainably improve performance in the longer term. Our expert teams focus on:

  • Managing capacity – Validating waiting lists should not break the back of operations managers in NHS trusts. We mobilise teams and partners to plug capacity gaps, providing advisory services to assess and build the business case to secure funding.
  • Accelerating projects – The sooner we get started, the sooner you can improve patient outcomes. We accelerate projects and increase effectiveness and productivity using our AI-enabled tools and automation – which are essential when validating high-volumes of patient pathways.
  • Co-ordinating workstreams – Activity needs to be coordinated to be effective and reduce the oversight burden for operational teams. We combine workstreams through a single integrated platform, which synchronises technical validation, clinical validation, and patient contact.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you validate outpatient pathways and expand elective capacity.

Validating West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals’ waiting list

Find out more about how we support NHS Trusts with validation, by downloading an evaluation of our work validating waiting lists at West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals.

Together with the Trust, we validated more than 40,000 pathways and correctly identified 54% of them as having a missed clock stop – meaning they were genuine data quality errors and could be safely removed from the waiting list. This significantly reduced the trust’s waiting list, its ability to manage patient pathways, and its performance against national standards.


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Find out more about how we support NHS Trusts with validation, by downloading an evaluation of our work validating waiting lists at West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals.
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