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Collaborative Working During COVID-19

Released on - 07/04/2020

Collaborative Working During COVID-19

During these exceptional times it is important that as a nation we recognise the power of collaborative working and our collective sense of responsibility in the fight against the coronavirus.

It is important that all healthcare professional understand how collaborative working will look and work in practice, to support NHS delivery and manage patient capacity during the pandemic crisis.

From Monday 23 March, 26 independent healthcare providers entered into a contract committed to implementing a mix of five main services in an agreement with NHS England and NHS improvement. This is for a minimum of 14 weeks to increase inpatient capacity and resources in a response to COVID-19. Services will include inpatient respiratory care to COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen therapy, non-invasive ventilation  (NIV) and mechanical ventilation in intensive care where facilities can support.

Treatment will be provided for patients requiring urgent time dependent NHS elective care, including surgery and cancer pathways. It will include all diagnostic and ancillary services. This should alleviate pressure in the NHS

All clinical and support staff normally working in the independent sector (IS) may be redeployed to support and work in other care settings. This will be agreed by appointed regional teams linking with their local NHS provider. The lead acute NHS trust will be responsible for coordinating the IS provider and other NHS acute trusts within the network.

The IS coordination network will release capacity to maximise safe, efficient use of services ensuring compliance. A local workforce register for both the NHS and IS will be provided to ensure safe patient care. All workers should receive equal training, and a critical equipment register will be issued to support service mix to include ventilators. 

Joint governance will be employed and processes agreed for sharing data and personnel information across the organisations to comply with GDPR.

As these contracts are now in effect in all areas, an opportunity exists to support NHS services and delivery by immediately beginning to transfer care to IS sites maximising patient care.

Every healthcare provider should provide safe systems of work for all healthcare professionals, as well as operating policies to support and provide the appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE) to meet with the Health and Safety Regulations (1993) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) INDG479 (2019) requirements. Education, training and fit mask testing should also be made available to everyone. 

Lindsay Keeley
Patient Safety and Quality Lead, AfPP

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