Surrey Heartlands’ Attend Anywhere initiative has been nominated as a finalist in the Digitising Patient Services Initiative category of the HSJ Awards 2020.

Following the initial COVID-19 outbreak, Surrey Heartlands ICS rapidly embraced the roll out of virtual consultations to get services back up and running to continue to deliver frontline services to patients.

KSS AHSN worked with the Surrey Heartland’s team to support the delivery of the Attend Anywhere video triage service, which enables patients to be seen by clinicians in a virtual clinic.

By building on the success of an early adopter project involving two of the system’s acute trusts, Surrey Heartlands was at the forefront, revolutionising patient appointments and delivering care to people in the comfort of their own homes.

By bringing together four acute trust, two community trusts and the county’s mental health trust, video consulting rates rose significantly from 150 per week in early March 2020 to 5,500 per week in early July 2020.

Athina Lockyer, Programme Manager with KSS AHSN, supported Surrey Heartlands with programme management support to the community trusts and mental health provider and exploring ongoing evaluation.

“It was a privilege to be able to work with Surrey Heartlands at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

“Attend Anywhere has made a hugely positive impact across the county, and I’m delighted that the team’s work has been recognised through this nomination to the HSJ Awards.”

Anita Randon, Programme Director (New Care Models) at Surrey Heartlands, explained that by the end of the first week of lockdown the team had launched a virtual forum where providers could rapidly share learning and best practice, helping to roll out the system at scale and at pace, facilitated by Rheanna Mitchell, Head of Planned Care Commissioning G&W ICP.

“Through close collaboration individual providers have implemented changes system-wide, bringing the best of their shared experience, learning from early-adopter sites to share best practice and achieve some impressive results, with video consulting levels among the highest in the south east region,” Rheanna said.

“As a system we are proud to have launched and delivered over 27,000 video consultations for our patients between March and July 2020, whilst managing the wider impact of covid-19 on our services.”

Moving to virtual consultations has been well received by patients, with individuals reporting increased convenience through not having to travel to hospital appointments and reduced costs associated with this; safer delivery of services and reduced risk of contracting Covid-19; increased efficiency for individuals who may have otherwise had to take more time off work or school; and increased engagement in consultations for some patients, including dementia patients where they were more comfortable and more relaxed being seen in their own homes.

A full list of all finalists from Kent, Surrey and Sussex is available here