Increasing capability and adoption of video consultation across the South West allowing outpatient services to continue during the COVID-19 response by reducing physical attendance.
To accelerate the uptake of video consultations in all secondary care settings, NHS England and NHS Improvement procured a national licence to a video consultation platform, Attend Anywhere, offering free access to NHS trusts and foundation trusts for 12 months.
SCW was asked by NHS England & Improvement to support a project to help increase attendance at medical appointments via video call by working on capability and adoption across the South West as part of a nationwide programme to reduce in-person attendance and thus the spread of Covid-19.
The South West regional Digital Cell was established as part of the COVID Incident Control Centre. Within this cell, a ‘Rapid Rollout Team’ was established to specifically support NHS trusts with the rollout of video consultation.
The team rapidly deployed and aided the adoption of Attend Anywhere video consulting for 16 NHS, Foundation, Community and Mental Health Trusts across the South West. SCW colleagues did this by working in a virtual collaborative team including NHSE/I, NHSD, technology suppliers and local Trust teams to deploy the solution, provide training and implementation & business change support.
The programme was launched on 25 March 2020 and within a few weeks, all interested acute, community and mental health trusts in the region were given access to the system. By mid-April, all had conducted their first video consultation with patients.
 Four Trusts were early adopters of Attend Anywhere; support was provided to those Trusts to help accelerate and extend the use of the platform. The Dorset system was already using the Attend Anywhere prior to this project.
 South West includes providers in the BSW, BNSSG, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucester and Somerset STP areas
The delivery of video consultations allows outpatient services to continue during the COVID-19 response by reducing physical attendance enabling more people to stay at home, thus reducing the spread of the virus and, in particular, protecting healthcare staff. Over 20,000 video consultations have taken place across the South West since the project started in March.
Increasing the uptake of video consultation is also a key commitment in the Long-Term Plan to enable the transformation of outpatients and other services, and will be a huge enabler as we move forward to the next stages of recovery post-COVID-19.