FAQs: Cleft Lip and Palate multidisciplinary clinic closure at Bedford and Ipswich

What is the Cleft Lip and Palate multidisciplinary clinic?

The Cleft Lip and Palate multidisciplinary clinic is where you meet the Surgeon, Cleft Nurse Specialist, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, and Psychologist, together with your local Orthodontist and/or Paediatrician, at one time.

Why did Addenbrooke’s Hospital need to review the cleft multidisciplinary outreach clinics?

The review of the cleft multidisciplinary outreach clinics was part of a much wider review looking at the entire cleft service.  The purpose of the review was to understand if the service could be delivered in a better way for your benefit, and to maximise opportunities in providing excellent patient-centred care. 

There are seven cleft multidisciplinary outreach clinics across the region and these form a large part of the work undertaken by the cleft service team, so this was an integral part of the review.    

What is happening, and why have you served notice to Bedford Hospital and Ipswich Hospital in particular?

As a result of the review, the Cleft Lip and Palate multidisciplinary clinics held at Bedford Hospital and Ipswich Hospital will cease to continue from 31 December 2016.  Any future appointments you may have (from 1 January 2017) with the cleft multidisciplinary team will take place at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. 

The cleft multidisciplinary outreach clinics at both Bedford Hospital and Ipswich Hospital have small numbers of patients, and we have the physical capacity at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to accommodate these numbers.   

What benefits will it bring to centralise the Bedford and Ipswich clinics at Addenbrooke’s Hospital?

Centralising the cleft multidisciplinary outreach clinics will ensure that you have the correct access to all the clinicians in the cleft team (i.e. surgeon, clinical nurse specialist, specialist speech and language therapist, psychologist, orthodontist, and dentist).  Currently not all the different clinicians are able to attend the cleft multidisciplinary outreach clinics and this means that patients are not receiving the best possible care from us.

The centralisation means that all your appointments for the cleft multidisciplinary clinic will be arranged by Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and this will avoid any duplication of appointments.  It will also improve communication between the cleft clinicians as they will be more directly involved in your care.

Have you considered alternative options to centralisation?

Yes, we have considered alternative options but none of them would have added significant benefit to the service we provide for you.

Have you considered how it will affect patients having to travel longer distances?

Yes, we have carefully considered how this will affect patients having to travel longer distances.  We do appreciate that the centralisation may mean a longer journey for you.  There are good public transport links to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, as well as parking facilities on-site or at park and ride. Click here for more information.

It may be possible to obtain a grant from Family Fund. Click here for more information.

The centralisation will enable Addenbrooke’s Hospital to manage your appointments (they are currently managed by your outreach clinic) so we will ensure that there are no duplicate or unnecessary appointments for you.

Will you be closing outreach clinics at other hospitals in the future?

All NHS services are reviewed on a regular basis to help improve services.  It is important to us that all our patients are treated equally and provided with the same excellent service.