Supporting GP practices across Lancashire and South Cumbria to work remotely in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
29th April 2020
We have created this webpage to provide the latest guidance and tips to support our primary care colleagues across Lancashire and South Cumbria to work remotely, deliver online consultations for local people and meet as virtual teams.
- Digital primary care and coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Video consultations:
- Microsoft Office 365 roll out and using Microsoft Teams
- ICS training portal
- Equipment and IT kit queries
- Health and wellbeing apps - ORCHA
- Total Frontdoor Triage Solutions
- Bookmark this page
All GP Practice staff must read the latest guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement, and there are specific instructions regarding Digital primary care and COVID-19 in:
- Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19: Letter from Sir Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard: 29 April 2020
- Preparedness letter for Primary Care: 14 April 2020
- Remote working in Primary Care guidance for GP practices during COVID-19 emergency response
- Preparedness update for general practice: 27 March 2020
- Annex A of Next steps on general practice response to COVID-19: 19 March 2020 (we’ve created a PDF version of the Digital primary care guidance with quick links).
For the latest updates to general practice regarding the emerging COVID-19 situation, please visit NHS England and NHS Improvement's coronavirus (COVID-19) response updates and guidance for General Practice webpage.
Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) is currently facilitating increased video consultations to support local GPs to carry out remote appointments with patients.
Online and video consultations between patients and clinicians should be used as an alternative to face-to-face appointments during times of social distancing, unless a face-to-face appointment is absolutely necessary as determined by the online triage process.
Video technology offers a range of benefits including:
- Minimising travel
- Supporting isolated communities
- Reducing the spread of infection.
- NHS guide to remote working and video consultations
- Lancashire and South Cumbria online and video consultation guidance
- Primary care digital first policy guidance
Impact so far
- 100% of practices in Lancashire and South Cumbria have been enabled to provide video consultations
- 185 GP practices are now actively offering video consultations
- In March 2020, 3,988 video consultation calls were made (up from 168 in February).
The deployment of iPlato allows video consultations to be undertaken by clinicians with individual patients. A licence has been purchased for each practice. If your practice has not yet deployed iPlato or if training and support is required in relation to undertaking video consultations then please contact Redmoor Health.
Please could patients be supported to download the myGP app wherever possible to allow easy access to online services.
Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS is making Visconn Clinic Remote Video Consultation Units and Xuper remote consultation software licences available to local Primary Care Networks.
This will support reduced workforce issues in Primary Care Networks by enabling the scheduling of clinics across the PCN area - for GPs, other clinicians and a range of other use cases.
Each of the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) who have requested a Visconn Clinic Remote Video Consultation Unit is being set up as a separate site for the Xuper licence and allocated a single concurrent licence for use across the PCN. The named administrator on behalf of each PCN will be able to schedule remote clinics and appointments for the PCN. It will not be possible within the system to have more than one clinician booked to use the single concurrent licence within each PCN thereby avoiding double booking.
Named administrators / clinicians for the Xuper licences should now have received a link to activate their licence.
- The Xuper licences can be used on any device connected to the internet
- Appointment are created and initiated in a browser
- The patient gets an email link to click on, no patient download required
- Training will be provided by Redmoor Health on behalf of Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System as a video webinar - please contact Richard Stoddart
- Follow up 121 support with video conferencing using the Xuper licences is available - please contact Richard Stoddart.
Visconn clinic remote video consultation units will be available to all Primary Care Networks who have requested one. These units will be able to be used by clinicians to undertake video consultations with patients across the PCN including care homes, if this use has been requested. The Visconn Clinic Remote Video Consultation Units are now available for deployment into the host PCN sites - please contact Richard Stoddart to confirm your delivery slot if this has not already been arranged.
18 units have been delivered to date, with further deliveries planned for early May. These are being used in a variety of different ways - with one practice hosting multi-disciplinary meetings and a care home hosting remote coffee mornings for residents and relatives, physical activities within the care setting and joining in with remote church services. Other use cases include:
- Clinician to patient video consultation
- Clinician to care home and vice versa
- Clinician to patient and relatives who maybe in different locations
- Specialist to clinician and patient (this may be from secondary to primary care where all participants may be in different locations)
- Interviews or clinical supervision
- Multi-disciplinary team meetings
- Education and training
- Remote clinician to group of patients.
Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System is accelerating the deployment and implementation of video consultations and group clinics to support remote working.
Video group clinics have the potential to be used for the management of people with similar conditions in a group. They could also be used to support people who are worried about COVID-19 symptoms as a virtual drop in to provide information, but not to manage acutely unwell patients.
Video group clinics are a different way to see people with similar health issues. Before coronavirus (COVID-19), a number of local GP practices were already working this way to support and review people with long-term conditions like diabetes and asthma.
By meeting virtually as a group, patients are able to share their knowledge and experience and benefit from peer support. Evaluation has found group consultations free up clinician time for more complex care, enhance patients’ understanding and confidence to manage their health issues; especially where self-care is key to success. All these benefits are highly relevant to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Help, support and training is available to help practice teams in Lancashire and South Cumbria to set up and run video group clinics. This includes:
- Systems to manage consent, confidentiality, safeguarding and documenting
- Guidance of ways video group clinics can facilitate triage and management of groups of patients with long term conditions during and after COVID-19
- Consultation skills for video group clinics
- Facilitation skills and managing group dynamics.
For more information and to register for training, contact Sue Capstick.
Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams are being made available to all GP practices across Lancashire and South Cumbria. This has already been rolled out for any user with a NHSmail account.
- Go to office.com and sign in using your NHSMail login details
- It is recommended that you use the web-based version of Microsoft Teams if possible
- If using the web-based version is restricted by EMIS, you will need to download the desktop version instead and this may require support from your IT provider
- There is the option to download Microsoft Teams onto a personal device
- Primary Care Networks or Practices need to allocate dedicated resource to request permissions, administer / organise Microsoft Teams and create teams on behalf of colleagues. For business continuity purposes, it is recommended that you allocate more than one named person to this task.
- To request permission to create teams for your Primary Care Network or Practice, please contact your IT provider. Ability to create teams is not provided by default - permission is required.
- Please make sure all staff are aware that the same principles for information governance and data protection apply, whether you are holding patient consultations in person or virtually or using Microsoft Teams.
We are now offering daily Microsoft Teams training and support webinars:
- The morning sessions will take place between 10 and 11am, Monday to Friday: access the morning Microsoft Teams training session
- The afternoon sessions will take place between 2.30 and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday: access the afternoon Microsoft Teams training session
In addition, you can request 121 training or ask a question by emailing email@example.com or call 01772 669088.
We are aware that there are GP Practices in Morecambe Bay who have different email arrangements and the ICS Digital Health team is working with ICT colleagues to identify the best solution for those organisations.
- Requests for IT equipment are being managed centrally through NHS England and NHS Improvement and IT providers, please collate local requirements and submit to your local GP IT provider. Nationally equipment is being deployed where it is needed most.
- If you have old devices that are no longer being used, please return them to your GP IT provider as soon as possible as these may be able to be upgraded or re-used.
- Fylde Coast: Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Morecambe Bay: University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
- East Lancashire: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
- West Lancashire: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
- Blackburn with Darwen: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
- Chorley and South Ribble: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
- Greater Preston: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
Apps offer a practical option to help people manage their own health and wellbeing from home.
We have commissioned ORCHA to provide a library of independently reviewed apps for Lancashire and South Cumbria.
ORCHA carries out independent and impartial reviews of health and care apps, meaning that each app that appears on this site has undergone a rigorous review process that scores them according to their clinical assurance, data privacy and user experience.
The apps library includes apps designed to help with:
- Self-care, managing anxiety, and wellbeing for all
- Management of diabetes, respiratory and heart condition symptoms
- Supporting people to self-manage will empower people to stay well and monitor their illness or condition; this has been shown to improve healthcare outcomes.
ORCHA Pro Licence offer
If you are a health or care professional within Lancashire and South Cumbria, you can access a free ORCHA Pro License for from 6 April to 6 July 2020, which will allow you to recommend apps straight to service users' devices.
All you need to do is:
- Visit https://lancashire.orcha.co.uk
- Input your contact details with the upgrade code: LANCS01.
Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System has the opportunity to trial Doctorlink during the COVID-19 pandemic as a front door triage solution for primary care to help manage daily demand. The trial period is for an initial six months during which time GPs, practices and Primary Care Networks have the opportunity to review the effectiveness of Doctorlink and support the decision making for a longer term solution.
Any practice wanting to trial Doctorlink as a Front Door Triage Solution should contact Anne Greenwood for further details.
Aims of Doctorlink
- enables patients to use a digital platform to undertake a virtual (online) assessment of presenting issues or concerns
- directs patients to the most appropriate level of care, aligned to clinical need
- supports and enhances timely patient access to care
- reduces demand
- supports healthcare providers to obtain specific details of patients’ presenting condition or symptoms through use of a digital platform
- improves patient care by moving from traditional care pathways to an algorithm based model of care which is indemnified.
GPTeamNet (Clarity) is being made available to support communication within all GP practices across Lancashire and South Cumbria. The TeamNet portal will provide access to the whole team, and allow system management of:
- policies, procedures and other documents
- safety alerts, including alerts on overdue responses and audit trail of relevance and actions
- staff appraisals, including reminders
- staff training register with reminders and training dashboard
- absences and holidays, including sick leave, manager approval and automatic allowance calculations
- development of custom pages for clinical topics
- system alerts and automated email reminders for many of the above to the relevant people.
We will use this webpage to provide the latest guidance, support and tips for Primary Care colleagues across Lancashire and South Cumbria to deliver online consultations and meet as a virtual team as we respond to the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Page last updated: 01June 2020, 10:20