Secondary Care

Telemedicine robots support Liverpool Women’s and Alder Hey

Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital are utilising telemedicine robots during COVID-19 for clinicians to be virtually on the ward, without needing to be in the room, or hospital.

Clinicians have been using new telemedicine robots, funded by Alder Hey Children’s Charity, to treat young patients. Paediatric and neonatal surgeons from Alder Hey and neonatologists from Liverpool Women’s work side by side on wards or in operating theatres in treating sick neonatal babies, but the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted movement of staff between the two hospitals.

The technology means clinic teams can take part in ward rounds, deliver ad hoc emergency medical advice and facilitate urgent reviews for babies that have just been operated on without having to travel to the relevant hospital site.

Joanne Minford, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, said: “As the surgical lead for the Liverpool Neonatal Partnership I can see both how much the system has helped the Partnership weather COVID-19, and how it can help us to continue to improve care for babies in the future.”

“The simplicity of the system, which is very intuitive and the reduction of travel time has meant we can make medical and surgical decisions quickly and with all the information we need.  We can see the babies in high definition and the first time I used the system, I felt just as if I were in the room.  Parents seem to love it too – I can answer all the questions Mums and Dads have in a very natural way.”

Fiona Ashworth, Chief Executive, Alder Hey Children’s Charity said: “The Charity is delighted to see this technology in use between the two hospitals, ensuring a seamless sharing of expertise in time-critical situations. The impact of using this technology now during the current crisis has been incredible, but even beyond that the ongoing benefits for the communities that both hospitals serve are amazing.”

Dr Chris Dewhurst, Clinical Director, Liverpool Neonatal Partnership said: “At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there was a reduction of about a third in the face to face clinical time that the consultant neonatologists were able to provide. This reduction threatened our ability to provide a clinical service to the neonatal units at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Hospital. The telemedicine system has allowed our consultants who have been shielding to provide a full clinical service across both organisations.”

“We have actually seen the care for our babies be enhanced by the telemedicine system. Busy specialists have been able to be at the baby’s cot side within minutes of being contacted, providing their expert opinion and discussing with the families as if they were in the room.”