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Rapidly rolling out video consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic

MLCSU’s change management specialists have ensured the rapid introduction of video consultations across the north of England to improve patient safety following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Background
The NHS Long Term Plan outlines NHS England and NHS Improvement’s commitment to transforming outpatient appointments. In April 2019, their Outpatient Transformation Team began a pilot to scale up the use of video consultations for outpatients. This work was rapidly accelerated in light of the COVID-19 outbreak to implement video consultation capability within all trusts.

Specialists from MLCSU’s Improvement Unit, who were already working for the NHSE North Elective Care team, were quickly redeployed to support the rapid roll-out across the North. They programme managed and delivered training on the Attend Anywhere online video consultation platform to all trusts across the North of England, linking with NHS Digital and NHS England programme teams.

Action
Two teams of trainers were quickly established from within the Improvement Unit. Under the guidance of the national video consultation project team they became experts in the platform so they could deliver train-the-trainer sessions and support trusts to implement video consultations. A lead trainer was assigned to each trust.
Working with the NHSE and NHS Digital onboarding teams, we arranged licences, carried out data protection impact assessments and checked technical requirements to ensure trusts were able to adopt video consultations successfully.

Impact

  • Within just three weeks the Improvement Unit team had delivered training on the Attend Anywhere online video consultation platform to 54 trusts.
  • Over 100 services and specialties across the north of England are now using video consultations to maintain appointments with patients safely.
  • Our team has also given advice regarding virtual consultations to ambulance trusts throughout England via a webinar organised by NHSE/I South West and facilitated by NHS Horizons.
  • By reducing the need for physical attendance at NHS sites, video consultations are preventing the transmission of COVID-19 as well as enabling clinicians to see patients who are unable to travel. Patients can have their consultations in a place that is convenient to them.
  • Video consultations are also enabling clinicians who are themselves at risk or who are self-isolating to work from home.

Thank you so much for your help, we really do appreciate it as I know a lot of people are needing the platform access to continue their care with patients and I wouldn’t have been able to do it as quickly without your assistance.
Sarah Thorn
Senior Clinical Information Systems Administrator, Leeds Community Healthcare Trust

Excellent communication and updates. Sensible, practical and effective support. Achieved real results, that make a difference.
Laura Jones
Outpatients Transformation Programme Lead, NHS England and NHS Improvement – North East & Yorkshire