Outstanding Outpatients

The Outstanding Outpatients Programme at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals aims to develop high quality, continuously improving outpatient services where enthusiastic, valued and able staff provide the right care.

What is Outstanding Outpatients?


  • A staff and patient engagement consultation took place over a 3 month period in 2016
  • 400 patients and 300 staff were asked for their views on what makes an outpatients experience outstanding.
  • Good practice was acknowledged and shared as well as areas for improvement discussed.
  • The feedback was reviewed and themed to identify the topics patients and staff felt were important.

A Few Facts:
317 000 new attendances
836 000 follow up attendances
81 000 DNAs
198 000 patient cancellations
155 000 hospital cancellations
£132m income generated through outpatient services
£155m cost


Therefore Outstanding Outpatients can have a large positive influence

Consideration was given to the whole patient pathway from referral to outcome as below:

Main Aims:

  1. Make outpatient services a priority for everyone at all levels of the organisation
  2. Create a brilliant patient experience
  3. Create a framework of measureable outpatient standards to drive improvement in all areas
  4. Implement new technologies in ALL areas
  5. Learn from what we do and spread the best practice that exists already
  6. Create efficient, effective services

What's Happening Now?

Outpatient Environment Improvements

We are evaluating every outpatient location to understand the space, facilities, etc. The purpose is to share good ideas and to support services to make improvements, particularly where there are common themes and where there is real need.


Electronic Check In and Workflow

Patients will be able to check in electronically at a kiosk instead of queue at a reception desk. Once checked in, a call through screen in the waiting area informs them of their waiting time and any delays. Staff can track patients through the department which  helps prevent delays.


Contact Centre

A centralised call handling team will ensure that patients are offered choice of appointment date/time and have all the information they need ahead of their appointment.


Outpatient Collaborative

A group of teams work together to develop, share and spread improvement ideas and the lessons they’ve learnt.

Coaching teams

We coach teams using a microsystems approach to improve the quality and efficiency of care for patients and the staff who work there.


The Environment Project

The purpose of the environment project is to:

  • improve the patient experience
  • standardise the physical surroundings

A review of 94 Outpatient areas across the Trust was conducted to better understand what could be better.

Improvements ranging from simple redecoration jobs and additional signage, to complete refurbishment have been identified and discussed with Estates. The environment project has gained initial approval for minimum standards for outpatient environments and funding has been secured to support improvement in 2017/18 with further investment being considered on an on-going basis.


The Future

Last year we held a series of engagement events with staff and patients to understand what matters most when it comes to outpatients. We have listened to this feedback to create an outline programme plan. Over the next year we will be working with all directorates to improve our outpatient services across STHFT.




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