Since the pandemic hit the UK, IT teams have been supporting the NHS to deliver care safely while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 by offering services over the telephone or by video in the first instance.
To get GP practices geared up for the new way of offering initial consultations the city’s IT set up and rolled out just under 1,000 new devices, from laptops to webcams, to staff across the city in a three week period. Before being rolled out, all the devices had to be tested to ensure they meet clinical security and safety standards. This meant 94 GP practices in Leeds could continue to provide a service for patients in the city.
This has seen a noticeable difference in the way GP practices in Leeds now deliver initial consultations and appointments. In the first full month of lockdown (April 2020), the latest figures show that around 46% of the 275,000 appointments were carried out over the telephone or through video consultation up from just 13% in April 2019.
Visseh Pejhan-Sykes, Executive Director of Finance at NHS Leeds CCG said, “Through it all the team have remained hugely positive and show real examples of leadership and collaboration, important qualities for a team during a crisis. In the space of three weeks they were able to set up and to roll out nearly 1000 devices to staff across the city. All the devices had to be sourced imaged tested and then supplied to practices. They were working 12 hour days including weekends to ensure patient care could continue in Leeds.
“The impact of their work cannot be understated as it enabled GPs and surgeries to continue to operate either in their practice or from home. They could still provide a clinical service to patients through video consultation, telephone consolation or by sharing images over text. This approach will have a lasting impression on the way services are provided beyond this pandemic.”