The COVID-19 crisis has had a seismic impact on our health and social care systems of operation, the likes of which we have not experienced in our lifetimes, and the Northern Bone Health project has neither been immune to nor untouched by the impact of the pandemic. Our innovative approach to reducing the risk of older people breaking bones could save the NHS over £35 million, across the North of England, if it is fully scaled-out across the region. With the full force of the pandemic impacting the implementation phase we are in the process of taking the following steps to ensure the successful delivery of the project through these difficult times.
We have created an alternative delivery option with our delivery provider Interface Clinical Services pharmacist team to support primary care colleagues. Formerly only supported through face-to-face interaction within a practice setting, the programme can now be provided via a remote or virtual model in practices currently looking to reduce footfall into primary care. Working virtually provides a new degree of flexibility, enabling a more inclusive approach across the programme by allowing clinicians to engage with each other from afar and indeed giving greater scope for multi-disciplinary team working.
As we move into a restorative phase following the initial COVID-19 response, this adaptation will enable primary care to access valuable additional resource and capacity which will support the reactivation of long-term condition management and ongoing patient care aligned to individual practice preferred operational models.
Our project’s evaluation, undertaken virtually by our colleagues at University of Sunderland will engage with clinicians and patients via telephone and online interviews and be supplemented by online only delivery of paperwork. This evaluation will examine the impact of the project to include the effect of the changes to delivery due to the pandemic which will inform the understanding of any further adoption across the health and social care system.
We would also wish to take this opportunity to signpost you to The Covid Hub at Royal Osteoporosis Society and the COVID 19 Resources at the Society for Endocrinology websites where there are resources and information available to help practices support patients and maintain continuity of care during these challenging times.
The Northern Bone Health Project is a Joint Working project with Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and Amgen.
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