Yorkshire and Humber publishes learnings from Covid report

A new report co-produced by SYB ICS and the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network has published findings on how the NHS in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw was able to adapt to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic during the first UK lockdown.

The paper, titled The Rapid Insights Report, explores how the NHS dealt with continuing to provide safe patient care whilst learning how to cope with an unfamiliar threat whose health risks and effects were still not yet fully understood.

Amongst the challenges faced by the NHS during this difficult period was a need to rapidly adapt and transform the approach to patient care, as focus had to be shifted towards those struck down with COVID-19. The report seeks to assess how these changes transformed the workplace culture and digital technology during this time, and explores case studies from within NHS Trusts and CCGs.

The paper notes that the threat of the virus led to a greater collaborative approach throughout the region, with staff developing an “in this together” attitude to help each other through the crisis. However, it also notes that the pandemic led to a negative effect on the mental health and wellbeing of patients, with depression and anxiety rising “sharply.” Postponed and cancelled services caused “increased distress” to patients, with better experiences being reported by those whose procedures were least disrupted.

The report highlights how services adapted, for example in Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber a digital remote pregnancy advisor clinic was introduced. The trust said DNA rates came down and is considering how to embed virtual clinics post-COVID-19 and how it will be balanced with face-to-face appointments.

Another of the lessons learned highlighted the challenges for those home working: “We found that some respondents reported challenges in home working, often around creating clear boundaries between their home and work life. Other respondents often found managing interruptions and disengaging from distractions in the home of particular challenge (especially those members with children at home).”

Richard Stubbs, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “It has been a difficult year and the pandemic continues to pose incredible challenges for everyone across our health and care system. But the crisis has also accelerated the adoption of innovations and service transformations at a pace and scale never seen before. It has brought organisations together across the whole region from the NHS and social care to local authorities, voluntary and third sector organisations.”

“The methodology developed for these rapid insights will be valuable in the future to help better understand what is needed to scale up and adopt innovations. It is a legacy that will remain even after the end of the pandemic.”

The report is now currently available to read on the SYB ICS website here.