West Midlands Virtual PSC Programme

Awarded to University of Birmingham

Dr Gideon Hirschfield, Senior Lecturer/Hon. Consultant Physician, Centre for Liver Research, Institute of Biomedical Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham

The total grant awarded is £10,000.00

Duration of award: 30 October 2015 to 30 April 2016 (6 months)

Award detailsWest Midlands Virtual PSC Programme

The grant was awarded for the development of a virtual PSC clinic from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, following the success of two pilots of the virtual clinic.

Information about the virtual clinic in Dr James Ferguson's presentation on IT and Opportunities for Patient Centred Care (specifically the virtual clinic part starts at 7m13s)


Martine Walmsley, Chair of Trustees for PSC Support commented: "The virtual clinic addresses a real unmet need among the PSC patient population. Not every patient is seen at a specialist centre or dedicated PSC clinic, something seen as vital in PSC care. Given the unpredictable nature of PSC, it is equally important for asymptomatic PSC patients to be monitored by specialist PSC centres as it is when their condition becomes more complicated. Distance from PSC Clinics is  a major barrier to access. The virtual clinic is seen as a way of bridging the gap felt by patients of not being seen by a PSC Specialist and having access to one. The direct (electronic) link from the hub (Birmingham) to patients all over the region has the potential to inform and empower patients. If successful, a virtual clinic will be of definite benefit to PSC patients, especially if this is replicated elsewhere in the UK and more widely.

Patients want easy access to research and easy access to specialists in their condition. The Virtual PSC Clinic offers the possibility of extending access to PSC specialists for patients living away from centres of excellence and ultimately leading to improved clinical care for such patients."

The implications of the virtual clinic are far reaching. Rolled out to PSC patients first, we will be first to benefit from this flexible approach to care. This set up could be applied to other liver disease groups, and even other diseases as an exemplar way of working with and monitoring patients. Not only that, but the system could be adapted to work in other centres around the UK.

It is expected that the Birmingham team will publish their Virtual PSC Clinic experience and propose it as a model of care for PSC patients. In conjunction with UK-PSC, centres of excellence for PSC could eventually be established and the Virtual PSC Clinic will add value to the UK-PSC work.

Updated 10 January 2016