At 18 Week Support, we continue to work 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.
A number of our trusts are working with our clinical teams to agree support plans for the coming weeks and months to help them ensure:
- Our environments and the activity delivered within it is safe and does not increase the risk of the pandemic to patients and staff. We have an insourcing services risk assessment that we update with our Clinical Leadership each month ensuring that our insourcing services are safely delivered in the changing environment. Every eventuality of delivering insourcing activity at the Trust in a Covid environment has been risk assessed with mitigations in place for every situation pre, during and post service delivery. We will work with our Trusts individually to ensure pathways are safe, this includes consulting on new ways of working to ensure that insourcing activity can continue ie utilising designated space for elective work that does not disrupt main hospital activity.
- Our staff entering your hospitals are Covid free. We are testing staff (clinical and non clinical) who work for us prior to their shift starting. This provides us with the assurance of a Covid safe environment for your patients and staff whilst we deliver care and treatment. Any staff who are testing positive will be replaced with staff who are Covid free. We have a large pool of staff in all specialties to ensure that we can continue to provide staff.
- We will not add any additional strain to your staff and management whilst reducing wait lists. We provide a complete managed service where staff, processes and support can be provided by 18 Week Support. We can deliver services parallel to the main hospital activity, as a separate provision, that reduces the negative impact to Trust resources.
What are other 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 any additional capacity over the coming months.
A number of trusts are beginning to postpone elective routine inpatient surgery but are continuing to run day case lists & diagnostics.
In addition, ‘Virtual Clinics’ are an effective way to priorities and manage urgent patients and minimise any adverse consequences of delay
How we can support you
We are able to offer additional capacity over the coming weeks and months in the following specialities and can be available to join local capacity planning meetings:
- General Surgery
- Vascular Surgery
- Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Risk Management of Covid-19
At 18WS we are actively reviewing the national covid-19 situation on a regular basis to ensure we keep our staff and their patients as safe as possible. In order to achieve this, we have put several things in place:
- Providing regular rapid Covid-19 testing of our staff to ensure they are safe to work
- Covid-19 Working Group, chaired by our Chief Nurse Suzie Loader, which meets weekly
- Development of a Safe Practice for Insourcing Services Policy which is regularly updated as new National Guidance is published. The policy includes information regarding the wearing of PPE, screening of staff and patients etc.
- When developing contracts with Trusts we align their local Infection, Prevention & Control policies with our Safe Practice for InSourcing Services Policy
- Risk Assessments developed for Insourcing and our Offices
- Risk Assessment templates to be used by the Chief Nurse and Head of Operations if a complex Covid situation arises
- Regular communications with our staff regarding changes in National Policy
- Maintenance of a Covid Tracker for staff who have come into ‘close contact’ with or who are Covid positive, to ensure they are supported and are not requested to work whilst they are isolating
- We are dynamic, taking action as necessary to the ever changing situation
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
- We have worked with over 100 NHS sites and our teams have extensive experience supporting trusts to develop and implement recovery plans. When the time is right for your teams to begin to develop recovery plans please let us know and we would be more than happy to support.
To close, and as I am sure you are aware, we are here to support you and can be available to join capacity planning meetings or talk through what additional support we can provide with each of your teams. If there is anything you think we might be able to help with, please do not hesitate to contact me, your local 18WS Service Delivery Manager or: