‘NHS Skype doctors and nurses’ prevent thousands of avoidable hospital trips

NHS England | June 2019 | ‘NHS Skype doctors and nurses’ prevent thousands of avoidable hospital trips

An on call Skype NHS team takes around 8,000 calls a year from wardens working in sheltered accommodation, care home staff and community teams looking for expert support for their residents. The innovation is from Tameside, Greater Manchester as part of a programme of integrated services being rolled-out across the country as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with smart use of technology enabling quicker, more personal care delivered as efficiently as possible.


Previously, they would have had to call an ambulance, but in the last two years they have prevented 3,000 avoidable visits to A&E and freed up 2,000 GP appointments by solving problems via Skype, meaning elderly people get the right support in their own home, avoiding the disruption – and in some cases distress – of an emergency hospital trip (Source: NHS England).

Full details from NHS England 


Investigation into recognising and responding to critically unwell patients

Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch | May 2019 |Investigation into recognising and responding to critically unwell patients

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch has published its final report: Investigation into recognising and responding to critically unwell patients, with two safety recommendations and three safety observations published 23 May 2019.

Image source: hsib.org.uk

Final report 

Summary report

NHS staff and parents to gain access to crucial child health information

NHS Digital | April 2019 | NHS staff and parents to gain access to crucial child health information

A new live service which enable access to important child health information at the point of care for health professionals has been launched by the NHS.

The service, the National Events Management Service, securely publishes information on key health interventions for children. Parents and health professionals can securely receive information digitally and use it to inform decisions on care and treatment, the service is the result of collaboration between NHS Digital and NHS England with IT suppliers.


The service shows which preventative interventions a child has received; improving the speed of diagnosis and treatment by giving health visitors and parents access to the same information sources at the same time.

The service has initially launched in North East London in partnership with North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) and their health visiting and child health services. IT suppliers which already support the Trust have connected their products to the new service.

Full details from  NHS Digital


How virtual reality is changing medical practice: “Doctors want to use this to give better patient outcomes”

BMJ | January 2019| How virtual reality is changing medical practice: “Doctors want to use this to give better patient outcomes”

A new feature in the BMJ describes how technology is having an impact on areas such as perioperative planning, medical training, psychiatry and palliative care and specifically how virtual reality is changing medical practice. 

Read the full piece at the BMJ 

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National Record Locator Service

New service will put crucial patient information in the hands of paramedics and mental health nurses | NHS Digital

NHS Digital has launched the new National Record Locator Service.  The new service will enable triage personnel such as mental health nurses and paramedics, who are called to a patient in distress, to find out whether a patient they are treating has a mental health crisis plan and ensure they are offered care in the most appropriate setting.  The service has been launched in beta; first use-case partners will be North West, North East, Yorkshire and London Ambulance Services working with local mental health trusts.

The next phase of development will continue integration with other Local Health and Care Record Exemplars before a full roll-out across the NHS.

Record retrieval for phase one sites is expected by summer 2019 and future use-cases include end of life care, child health, maternity and cancer.

Full detail at NHS Digital

Advice line for GPs saves hours of travel for patients and £100k to be reinvested back into NHS

NHS England | November 2018 | Advice line for GPs saves hours of travel for patients and £100k to be reinvested back into NHS

The Walton Centre in Liverpool – the only specialist hospital trust in the UK dedicated to providing comprehensive neurology, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services-   runs an advice line which means GPs in the Cheshire and Merseyside area can call neuro consultants for fast advice any weekday reducing extra patient appointments. 


So far the service has received 181 calls 37% were resolved by the GP saving £51,698 which over a year saves around £100k.

Programme Director Julie Riley said: “We want to deliver services closer to home and when patients do come into hospital, support them so they can recover and go home quicker. From a patient point of view, we want to work in partnership with them. We, our consultant colleagues and GPs want to support them in self-management, where appropriate – rather than taking a paternalistic approach.”

Read the full case study at NHS England 

NHS to provide life changing glucose monitors for Type 1 diabetes patients

NHS England | November 2018 | NHS to provide life changing glucose monitors for Type 1 diabetes patients

Simon Stevens Chief Executive of NHS England  has announced that thousands of people with diabetes will be able to access Freestyle Libre; a wearable sensor that means those with the condition no longer need to rely on inconvenient and sometimes painful finger prick blood tests, as the device works by relaying glucose levels to a smart phone or e-reader.  This announcement marks an end to the current variation  some people in different parts of the country were experiencing. 



The pioneering technology should ultimately help people with Type 1 diabetes achieve better health outcomes and benefits for patients include:

  • Easily noticing when sugar levels are starting to rise or drop, so action can be taken earlier
  • Giving patients more confidence in managing their own condition
  • Not having to do as many finger-prick checks (Source: NHS England)

Read the full announcement from NHS England

In the media:

BBC News Diabetes glucose monitors ‘available to thousands more’