Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC)
The Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC) was introduced at Medway in April 2018. It is collaboration between the Minor Injury Unit (MIU)/Emergency Department at Medway Maritime Hospital including the MIUs at Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital, Sheppy Community Hospital and Gravesham Community Hospital. Primary Health Care Providers can also refer into the VFC.
Many injuries do not require any specific input from a doctor or orthopaedic surgeon and can be self-managed by patients. Nine conditions are directly discharged from ED/MIU with an advice leaflet for patients:
- Torus buckle fractures
- Undisplaced Radial Head/Neck fractures
- Non-boney Mallet finger injuries
- Paediatric Clavicle Fracture
- Base of 5th Metatarsal Fractures
- 5th Metacarpal Neck Fractures
- Lesser toe fractures
- Undisplaced Acromio-clavicular joint injuries
- Ankle sprains
Ambulant patients requiring specialist orthopaedic review are referred for triage and Virtual Fracture Clinic review. In the VFC the clinical notes from the Emergency Department/ Minor Injury Unit and the radiographs are evaluated by an orthopaedic consultant. The consultant then decides on the best treatment for this particular patient; this might be advice given over the telephone regarding self-management of the injury, referral for physiotherapy or a face-to-face appointment in the fracture clinic. Generally patients get referred to the VFC by the following working dayafter presentation at MIU/ED, but sometimes there can be delays. We aim for all patients to be evaluated within 3 days. The patient then will be contacted by a nurse, who will explain about the decision. A letter is typed for the patient and the GP. Following this the patient will be either discharged, directed to a general or specialist fracture clinic with appointment, recalled for direct assessment if surgery is anticipated or referred for physiotherapy. There is also an exercise sheet for hand injuries that do not require specialist input.
The virtual fracture clinic can be directly contacted by patients or their carers / guardians / parents if they have concerns:
- Monday to Friday, 11am to 5pm: Call 07760 553994
- Referrals: firstname.lastname@example.org