Insourcing plays a crucial role in alleviating unprecedented NHS pressures, reducing waiting lists, and enhancing patient care 

Health systems in England are currently facing unprecedented pressures. Waiting lists are at record highs, heading towards 8 million, and winter is yet to fully hit. Integrated Care Systems are working to reduce waiting lists, but capacity problems are undercutting the hard work of over-stretched NHS staff.

Greater capacity is needed to treat more patients who are waiting too long, and insourcing is the solution to these capacity gaps. Insourcing involves a team of clinicians being brought into NHS facilities to use existing theatres and equipment, mainly in the evenings and weekends when they are not being used. By effectively using equipment and theatre space that would otherwise lie disused, more patients can be treated, helping NHS trusts to provide a “seven-day service”. Insourcing is critical to tackling the elective backlog, and 18 Week Support is leading the way.

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18 Week Support is the leading NHS insourcing expert in the UK. We provide expert clinical teams to undertake additional elective work at NHS facilities, reducing waiting lists and ensuring patients receive treatment quickly. We have access to a large pool of high-quality clinical and non-clinical staff that can be deployed rapidly across the country. We can deliver extensive outpatient, surgical and diagnostic support to all trusts in a single ICS. Our teams provide support across the patient pathway from outpatient to treatment – including triage, booking, and scheduling. Our services are tailored to meet the needs of the NHS and are constantly adapted to provide targeted support as needed to improve productivity. Deployment is quick and straightforward, and services can be procured through national frameworks.

We provide a comprehensive offering across 15 specialties, including endoscopy, ENT and gynaecology, all at sub-tariff rates. This means our additional work generates further income for NHS trusts (making it more affordable than outsourcing). We can flex our team across multiple sites within a system to reduce waiting times for one or more specialties and optimise the utilisation of any physical estate, be it an existing estate or new modular additions. We are also able to plug capacity gaps and are industry experts in managing surgical hubs to reduce waiting times for elective surgery.

By taking a system-wide approach to elective care, we can help an ICB over-deliver on its system-wide targets so a system can access additional elective recovery funding. This is important as many trusts forecast deficits for this financial year and would greatly benefit from the extra income.

Our bespoke insourcing allows us to act as a necessary support system to reduce waiting lists across ICSs effectively. With our highly qualified teams of clinical workers, our targeted approach and dynamic structure, 18 Week Support can give every healthcare professional the freedom to thrive.

In a recent initiative undertaken in the Midlands, 18 Week Support partnered with an ICS’s surgical hub to address the pressing issue of extended waiting lists for elective care. The elective hub was grappling with a challenging scenario where over 30,000 patients had been waiting for more than a year, contributing to an overall waiting list of 111,567 patients.

The collaborative effort focused on securing elective care space for procedures during peak demand. This was achieved by optimising session utilisation and forming integrated teams of 18 Week Support’s experienced clinicians and the surgical hub’s consultants. Impressively, the surgical hub’s utilisation increased from 69 per cent to 87 per cent. This strategic approach resulted in a 71 per cent improvement in theatre efficiency, facilitating the treatment of 536 patients across various specialties, including General Surgery, Radiology and Vascular. Furthermore, this partnership achieved a remarkable 99.9 per cent patient satisfaction rate, demonstrating the effectiveness and high-quality service of 18 Week Support in enhancing healthcare delivery.

The challenge of helping the 7.7 million people on NHS waiting lists requires multiple approaches, and insourcing is a vital part of this strategy. 18 Week Support is ready to work at a system level, partnering with ICBs and local trusts, bringing our expertise to expedite patient care and reduce wait times.