This webpage signposts readers to high quality sources of information about the NHS response to COVID-19.
Guidance for Clinicians
Assessing COVID-19 patients in primary care (RCGP / AHSN Webinar)
The assessment of patients who are unwell with COVID-19 or other causes presents a significant challenge for GPs and clinicians working in Primary Care.
A recent webinar from the RCGP and The AHSN Network looked at this issue and the recording has already been viewed more than 5,000 times.
NEWS2 and deterioration in COVID-19 (RCP - 14 April 2020)
NEWS2 should be used when managing patients with COVID 19. The use of NEWS2 will ensure that patients who are deteriorating, or at risk of deteriorating, will have a timely initial assessment by a competent clinical decision maker. NEWS2 should supplement clinical judgement in assessing the patient’s condition.
The NEWS2 scoring system for oxygen supplementation is binary (yes/no). In patients with COVID-19 infection, once hospitalised and treated with oxygen, their oxygen requirement might increase rapidly if their respiratory function deteriorates but this may not result in any significant increase in the NEWS2 score. Therefore, in patients with COVID 19, all staff should be aware that ANY increase in oxygen requirements should trigger an escalation call to a competent clinical decision maker. This should be accompanied by an initial increase in observations to at least hourly until a clinical review happens, if this has not already happened as a result of NEWS2.
More information about NEWS2 and deterioration in COVID-19 can be found on the RCP website.
COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing symptoms (including at the end of life) in the community
NICE guideline NG163 (6 April 2020) provides recommendations for managing COVID‑19 symptoms for patients in the community, including at the end of life. It also includes recommendations about managing medicines for these patients, and protecting staff from infection.
Guidance for doctors on ethical issues likely to arise when providing care and treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Guidance from the BMA exploring the ethical issues likely to be encountered during the COVID-19 outbreak and what good decision making requires.
NHS England and NHS Improvement advice for clinicians on the coronavirus
can be accessed via the NHS England & NHS Improvement website.
NICE Rapid guidelines and evidence summaries
can be accessed via the NICE Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.
NB: To support the NHS and Social Care to respond quickly to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic NICE have brought together information that may help. NICE have also waived the normal licensing requirements for international reuse or reproduction of this content (see NICE website for full details).
Spotting serious illness and sepsis in Care Homes and domiciliary settings
Carers working in a residential care home, or professional or family carers supporting someone in their own home, can access a number of tools including RESTORE2 and Soft Signs from the AHSN network to help recognise physical deterioration and take the appropriate actions.
Public Health Information and guidance related to public health services, including mental health and isolation.
Public Health England (PHE) in collaboration with the Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH), and NHS England and NHS Improvement, have collated a suite of resources relating to health inequalities and COVID-19 to support place-based approaches to planning and responding to the pandemic, while mitigating against potential impacts on those with the poorest health outcomes.
Health and social care professionals
Coronavirus staff resilience hub
MindEd has selected the best advice and tips from its large panel of international experts.
The MindEd hub is to help all frontline staff manage their mental health and wellbeing. It was created with NHS Health Education England in partnership with NHS England-Improvement, supported by Skills for Care.
NHS 111 for patients with an urgent health concern
NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service, running alongside its standard online service, which can provide advice to patients with an urgent health concern. Patients with possible COVID-19 are directed to NHS 111 online for health advice in the first instance. The NHS 111 telephone service should be used only when online access is not possible.
GoodSam information for referrers of Vulnerable Patients / Self Isolating
Health and social care professionals in England can refer any vulnerable patients who are self-isolating to NHS Volunteer Responders for help with tasks such as collecting shopping and prescribed medicines, driving patients to medical appointments or transporting supplies between sites.
The scheme is already helping thousands of people every day and hundreds of thousands of volunteers are available to help.
You can make referrals through the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal or by calling 0808 196 3382.
Health advice for members of the public
can be accessed via the NHS Health Advice website.
Travel information, and advice about the government response to the outbreak
can be accessed via the GOV.UK website.
Information about how the AHSN and PSC Networks are supporting the response to COVID-19
Supporting patient safety during COVID-19 (National PSC)
Patient Safety Collaboratives, as part of the NHS National Patient Safety Improvement Programmes (NatPatSIPs), will focus on the following priorities over the next six months:
For more information about the NatPatSIP Patient Safety Programme can be found on the NPSC website.
Supporting Technological Innovation (National AHSN)
The role of England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) is to support our NHS and Social Care partnersby helping them take full advantage of the most relevant innovations and technologies that can improve care for patients and support our services in this challenging context.
Nationally, the AHSN Network is part of a coordinated NHS response to identify and enable the implementation of technologies that respond to areas of highest priority action, in particular solutions for remote consultation and patient monitoring, diagnostics and point-of-care testing.
More information about these national programmes can be found on the National AHSN website.
Offering Regional Support across Wessex (Wessex AHSN)
During this current period of extreme operational pressure, the AHSNs will be supporting our colleagues on the frontline and in planning and operations by offering the most appropriate assistance as and when required. This will include supporting the implementation of technology to maximise the use of remote consultations and online guidance, freeing up valuable clinician time and reducing the risk of transmission.
We are working closely with our regional NHS teams to coordinate this support and more information, including contact details, can be found on the Wessex AHSN website.