Three medics in a hospital

National COVID-19 programme for returning doctors and clinicians

In 2020 SCW set up a new NHS111 Clinical Assessment Service to manage responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenge

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, an urgent priority for the NHS 111 service was to recruit clinical staff to work in the newly established Covid-19 Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS).

The service was hosted by South, Central Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SCASFT). They needed to recruit returning clinicians with experience and competencies in the areas of clinical assessment and decision-making appropriate to assessing the needs of a patient with COVID-19.

Clinicians would be assessing patients over the telephone who had already been triaged as likely to be suffering from COVID-19, who are symptomatic and have not been clearly defined as requiring an ambulance response or to be suitable for self-care. 

From a standing start on 20 March 2020, SCW conceptualised a service, developed the operational model, created the governance and connected with over two thousand GPs, with over 2,000 of them fully onboarded to deliver patient care. Numbers have continued to increase over the weeks.

Once recruited, SCW established the 24/7 roster of clinicians to receive the incoming NHS 111 referrals in real-time and conduct the clinical assessments, providing the operational hub for ongoing delivery and resourcing of the newly established service.

Our impact

  • We developed the service that is supplying GPs and other clinicians to support NHS111 COVID-19 clinical care with the governance, education and supervision to ensure safe patient care.
  • We also built contractual frameworks that have enabled SCASFT to host the Covid-19 CAS on behalf of NHS England.
  • At speed, we developed a data-warehouse and web-portal that acts as a CMS to manage clinicians from initial application to go-live.
  • We developed an IT Support Desk that has received an increasing amount of delegated authority to act, not only from SCASFT but also from national organisations NHS Digital and NHS-X, as well as third-party suppliers.
  • In partnership with NHS England, we developed a Locum-GP model, hosted and delivered by an Acute Trust in support of the Regions and General Practice.
  • We built a programme plan that pulls together a wide stream of resources in support of the NHS111 CCAS, a plan that now includes, not only GPs but also, pharmacists, paramedics, physiotherapists and dentists.

And behind these achievements our teams have:

  • Rallied to pull every stop out of the bag in demonstrating our analytical and digital capabilities
  • Shown how combined knowledge, relationship management and operational nouse can pull anyone over a line that we need to if it means a patient will receive care
  • Built a programme structure that has ensured we know what we need to achieve and when we need to achieve it by. Even if we still have to work out some of how we go about achieving it
  • Put their hands up for jobs they would never have imagined, bought into the spirit and made it possible for us to mobilise this programme in support of patients.

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