NHS names new partner to reduce COVID-19 strain on staff

By Leila Hawkins
Connect Health will work with the NHS to meet patient demand...

A healthcare provider that specialises in musculoskeletal disorders has been named as a partner by the UK's National Health Service (NHS) to help reduce the burden on frontline workers. 

Connect Health has been appointed as a partner in two areas of the NHS: the Outsourced Clinical Services Framework (OCS) and the Health Systems Support Framework, with the aim of reducing waiting times and achieving better outcomes for patients. 

Musculoskeletal problems affect 1 in 4 of the UK's adult population and account for 30 per cent of doctor consultations. COVID-19 has added pressure to frontline staff and key workers, with many staff finding themselves working long hours under very difficult conditions to meet patient demand. 

Connect Health’s services include orthopaedics, pain management, rheumatology, and physiotherapy, with the provider recently making significant investments in the latest robotics and AI to make sure interactions between patients and clinicians, such as appointment bookings, reminders, diagnosis coordination and patient discharge, are managed effectively.

The partnership isn’t new as Connect Health has been working with the NHS for 30 years. Its accreditation on the NHS England’s Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF) is in the “Patient Empowerment and Activation” and “Transformation and Change” categories. This means services are focused on the patient experience and what really makes a difference to them, as they state: “being seen in the right place, at the right time, by the right clinician.” 

The HSSF includes infrastructure and digitalisation, analytics, and impact and intervention, where Connect Health’s services lie. This includes managing demand, capacity planning and medicines management. 

Phil Davies, Director of Procurement at NHS Shared Business Services, said: “NHS organisations routinely acquire extra clinical capacity to deal with spikes in demand and to keep waiting lists down for patients. The recent extreme pressure on NHS services means that additional clinical support is likely to be needed now more than ever. We have worked with a number of NHS trusts to put a framework in place that enables any NHS provider to access high-quality clinical services quickly – in a cost-effective and compliant manner.” 

Mike Turner, Chief Operating Officer of Connect Health said: “Transformation through data and culture change is fundamental to really understanding the right interventions for patients and delivering sustainable pathways. Working with NHS partners to transform care, our expertise in this area has seen the organisation mobilise and transform over 15 community services in the last few years.

“We have invested over £3m to develop capability and infrastructure with an exclusive focus on the delivery of high-quality, responsive integrated services with the aim of optimising the experience for patients, taxpayers and colleagues.”


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