I thought you might welcome an update about how we are working with trusts and NHS England to help minimise the adverse consequences of COVID-19 on clinical capacity decisions for patients on urgent non-COVID-19 pathways. And also, what we are doing to support you at this difficult time.
To support you, Jane and Vanessa, supported by the wider team, are producing a weekly newsletter which will be circulated by Niara and also available on this website in due course, so I won’t repeat it here.
In terms of our ongoing support for the NHS, a number of trusts are working with our clinical teams to agree support plans for the coming weeks and months to help them ensure:
- Digital technology is used to shift patient contacts from face-to-face to new virtual consultations
- Effective case review and risk stratification is undertaken, for both current and new referrals, to ensure any adverse consequences of delay are understood and minimised
- Availability of Booking, Reception, Administrative and Decontamination staff where required
- Day case lists and diagnostics continue for as long as is safe to do so.
What are our partner Trusts doing?
Any decision to postpone elective cases will obviously affect those patients who are already waiting the longest and who are already most at risk of clinical harm because of their wait. To reduce harm, it is important for us to work together and provide what additional capacity we can over the coming months.
A number of trusts are beginning to postpone elective routine inpatient surgery but are continuing to run day case lists. We are working with trusts to help them safely comply with the instructions set out in paragraph 1.a, of the letter from Sir Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard of 17 March 2020, which states:
‘Emergency admissions, cancer treatment and other clinically urgent care should continue unaffected’
One London Trust we work with is moving to telephone consultations wherever possible but seeking to continue with elective cases that may have life changing outcomes e.g. cancers and bowel screening or sight threatening consequences.
Advice and Guidance
To support trusts during this challenging period we have also appointed dedicated resources who can provide advice on:
- how to optimise the reduced planned capacity,
- share templates and processes, including patient communication, rescheduling letters and converting to virtual processes
- rapid implementation of digital technologies and virtual platforms
In the past years we have worked with over 50 NHS sites and will be offering our extensive experience supporting of trusts to develop and implement recovery plans when the time is right.
In closing, can I take this opportunity to thank you all for you continued hard work and support. I will do my best to keep you updated as the situation develops. Forefront in my mind is keeping you all safe so we can continue to do our bit to support the NHS now and when we return to normal times, when the NHS will need our support more than ever.