The UK Government’s COVID-19 Response Hub includes FAQs, travel advice and guidance for health professionals. This remains the key resource for the latest information and advice.
As hospitals have closed their doors to non-essential visits and there has been halts and delays in clinical trials and new product launches, industry representatives need to look beyond their day-to-day roles to see how they can support the healthcare service in turmoil.
The NHS has called for an army of volunteers to help with the non-clinical activities. So long as you do not belong to a high-risk group or suspect you have contracted the virus yourself, volunteering could include helping hospitals to prepare, ferrying staff between sites, delivering food and medicines to vulnerable or lonely people, supporting general practice, or working alongside charities and other voluntary organisations who care for specific groups of people.
The ABHI has also said that companies who have clinically qualified members of staff (doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others) may be able to support healthcare delivery. However, they should clarify whether they are protected under NHS indemnity with the NHS at the point of agreeing to volunteer. More information on clinicians returning to the NHS can be found on the NHS England site and individuals should also consult the latest guidance from their respective professional organisation.
The ABHI and ABPI are also working together to consider how ‘life science workers, who are not medically qualified, can utilise their specialist expertise and deliver support’. This could include activates like running online conferences, designing educational materials or operational management experience.
When it comes to products, key areas that industry can support the NHS include:
Enhancing the safety of both patients and NHS staff as they treat patients suspected of carrying the virus with the supply of personal protective equipment.
Developing the latest technological solutions that service provision such as, remote consultations, supporting vulnerable people to stay at home and developing technology that can help us to trace the path of the virus through communities.
Enabling NHS hospitals to safely and speedily discharge non-critical patients back to their homes, in order to prevent them from becoming infected in hospital and to free up space for patients who are seriously affected by the virus.
Manufacturing anti-viral medication as well as that globally desired Covid-19 vaccine.
Delivering lifesaving ventilation and critical care equipment and beds. All trusts have been told to enhance their critical care capabilities and will be fully reimbursed. The goal is to have as many beds, critical care bays, theatre and recovery areas able to administer life-supporting respiratory care as possible.
The situation is developing fast, with new requests and developments taking place on a daily basis. Medical Industry Ltd is keeping track of specific calls for help, so that you can access one central resource of information that is updated on a regular basis.
Some companies are using this time to perform a ‘skills audit’ of all company employees to see very simply what skills each person can offer. When requests come out, it’s then easy for companies to select employees with the needed skills, ie, clinical, clerical, first aid, logistics, analytics, caring, planning, management, etc…