The challenges:

  • To reduce the cost of the department.
  • To increase efficiencies and increase staff capacity for value-add departmental tasks.
  • To address the patient backlog accrued during the pandemic.

The technical solution:

  • Procured Blue Prism and built-up own Trust-wide in-house automation team over time.

Processes automated using RPA:

  • Pre-populating pharmacy prescription lists, semi-automated RAS triage process
  • Booking patients into clinics, clinically validate ‘on hold’ follow-up clinic appointments
  • Auto-check for DNAs in outpatient clinics and alerting staff by email after two occurrences
  • Escalates two week wait cancer referrals if approaching target dates by emailing nominated staff member(s)
  • Uploading patient details to national cancer register
  • Auto-checks and books patients waiting for diagnostic procedures
  • ‘Scrapes’ pre-defined data from ERS to populate the Patient Tracking List
  • Prioritisation of backlog waiting lists through auto-search for key words using optical character recognition.


  • Achieve 90% outpatient clinical fill level overall
  • Achieve 95% new patient slot booking from ERS
  • Assurance of many routine tasks as automation eliminates human error.
  • Significant savings in replacing high churn roles which heavily featured repetitive administrative tasks
  • Significant savings in replacing other roles where staff are redeployed into other vacancies.

Other points to note:

  • Initial investment was paid back in 24 months through jobs no longer required.

Contact for further information

  • Peter Coutts, Deputy Divisional Director, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This case study is one in a series exploring the use of RPA in various NHS settings. It forms part of a guide produced by the West of England AHSN sharing our learning around RPA.

Read the full guide online here or download the guide as a PDF here.