Dr Denis Burke

Consultant Physician, Chair of Out Patient Development Group

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC)

In this Learning from COVID-19 Improvement Story, we hear from Dr Denis Burke, who describes the positive changes made in Out Patient (OP) services during the pandemic:

Why was change needed?

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the ability and way that NCIC are able to provide services for patients. In early 2020, entering the unknown of a pandemic, urgent action was required in OP services in order to minimise risk to both patients and staff, whilst maintaining a level of service and infection prevention control measures. The OP Development Group played a pivotal role in implementing an increase in remote consultation, reducing footfall on acute sites, and accelerating/expanding transformation projects. 

What impact did it have?

In January 2020, 1165 patients were assessed remotely, but by June, services had been implemented to allow 9137 remote consultations per month. At the peak of the pressures in February 2021, a total of 1082 video hours were undertaken using the Attend Anywhere tool. Not only did this work achieve the key objective of minimising risk to both patients and staff, feedback from patients highlighted that:

  • 53% saved more than 5 miles in travel per consultation
  • Individuals also saved time, money, and found the experience easier, safer and more convenient
  • 1521 (97%) said they would use video again

How will this be sustained?

The resilience of staff and their will to adopt change in support of our patients’ wellbeing has been impressive. The momentum gained needs to be harnessed, and processes need to be refined in order to support change and avoid unnecessary beaurocracy. The OP development group will continue to support the teams, and there is now a wealth of information and examples of how change can be effected rapidly. Peer support and learning will be recruited across the organisation.

Read the full detail – download the pdf story below:


Teach it forward!

We would love to hear about the improvements that you have made as a result of COVID-19. Capture your story on the template available below and send it to us at info@theclic.org.uk