Health Care Professionals : The Provision Of Clinical Care

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ODUCTION Health-care professionals regularly request systematic evidence-based guidance to facilitate decision-making in the provision of clinical care. For this, adequate support from hospital management is needed to implement changes within sectors of the NHS. An approach to the provision of such guidance is the use of clinical pathways as an implementation tool. Clinical pathways are structured multidisciplinary care plans containing detailed essential steps in the care of patients with specific problems (1). Overall, the degree of impact they have on patient outcomes, length of hospital stay and costs appear to be favourable and are established and developed by bodies such as NICE to maximise patient welfare (2). With clinical pathways tailoring the care of such a large range of problems, from patients with diabetes to head trauma to psychiatry (3) it is essential to critically evaluate their effectiveness within specific settings. This essay aims to focus on the pathway taken by a patient, a 62-year-old male, who came to the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic (RACPC) after being referred by his local GP to assess and further examine his complaint of chest pain for the last two months. The aim of such a clinic is to fast track patients who have suspected ischaemic heart disease so that they can go on to receive the appropriate treatment and medication if diagnosed, in accordance with guidelines set by NICE (4). In my opinion, it is advantageous to have such guidelines
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