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UKIT Industry Awards Finalists

Thursday 17th September 2020

UKIT Industry Awards Finalists

NECS’ IT Programmes and Projects team has been shortlisted as a finalist in two categories at the UKIT Industry Awards.

The team has been shortlisted in the Healthcare Project of the Year category twice for the Covid-19 Hot Hubs project and the North Tees Primary Care Digital Agenda.

Covid-19 Hot Hubs
The face-to-face care of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic placed GP practice staff at risk of infection.

An innovative solution was required to address the problem, and provide an effective way of treating patients with COVID-19 symptoms, who also needed treatment for other medical problems. NECS was asked to identify and implement a solution: appointment only ‘hot hubs’, where patients are assessed in a separate location, away from GP practices reducing avoidable footfall in practices. NECS converted the estate for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients to be cohorted for appointments. This ensured hot and cold (non-COVID) areas were completely segregated, with separate entrance and exits. The IT infrastructure, networking capability and office equipment, including PCs, printers, telephony, furniture etc. were sourced and installed within 2-3 days. The project took 6 weeks and covered 47 sites.

The project affords access to safe and uninterrupted treatment in GP practices for over 2.5 million patients across the North East, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Valuable lessons learned have been documented and carried forward as preparedness for any future possible COVD-19 spikes or other epidemics, at which time the hot hubs will be a valuable tool in the NHS armoury.

North Tees Primary Care Digital Agenda
With the traditional GP appointment system some patients have to take a day off work to get an appointment, which can mean losing a day of pay. Using technology to deliver different access models makes this a thing of the past. Innovations such as Patient Online Access are simple ideas in themselves, but GP practices are busy organisations with little time to horizon scan and implement new technology themselves. In order for GP practices in Darlington and Hartlepool & Stockton CCGs to increase the use of digital technology, NECS was asked to support their practices.

The objective was to create an environment where digital innovation could flourish, placing the technology end user at the centre of everything, to deliver change that is truly transformational for the patients. This was underpinned by supporting staff to develop the right skills and capabilities needed to drive forward this digital revolution, and empower them with the expertise they need to develop more efficient ways of, and be fully engaged with the transformation.

A number of Patient Online Access technologies were promoted including online appointments, online ordering of repeat prescription and online GP consultations, all of which were novel and ground-breaking concepts to the GP practices.

This project has succeeded in embedding the use of digital technology in GP practices, transforming the way they work bringing benefits including:

  • Cutting some of the administrative workload of practice staff by reducing patient phone calls and visits.
  • A decrease in patients who fail to turn up to appointments (DNAs)
  • Reduced travel for patients
  • A drop in waiting time for appointments
  • Patients have reported reduced waiting times on the phone
  • The spin off benefit appreciated most during the COVID-19 pandemic has been that a greater amount of routine queries can be dealt with without the need for patients to visit the surgery, reducing the infection and transmission risk for patients and staff.

UKIT Industry Awards
A virtual awards ceremony will take place in November – good luck to the team!

Find out more about the awards and other finalists here: