A training programme developed in just a matter of days to teach hundreds of medical staff new life-saving critical care skills is now being rolled-out to NHS hospitals.
It’s thought that one in ten people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 will require treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU) – a demand too great for ICU staff to meet.
To help address this problem, a team from Brunel University London, in conjunction with 33N, an analytics company led by NHS clinicians, and CLEAR, their national healthcare redesign scheme, designed and developed a training programme that is now being used by Health Education England (HEE) to prepare around 100 new ICU staff a day – including doctors, nurses and physios.
The programme was piloted last week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, and Peterborough City Hospital, and is now being used to train NHS staff more broadly – including those who will be working at the new Nightingale field hospital at London’s Excel Centre.
“We came up with a plan to deliver an online educational package that includes pre-recorded lectures and interactive tutorials with specialists in critical care that cannot or are not working directly on the frontline,” said Dr Eve Corner, a lecturer in physiotherapy at , who first suggested Brunel get involved through the Northwest London Critical Care Network.
“The idea was to offload the local training burden and free up trained staff to work directly with patients, whilst still offering an education package fit for purpose with critical care experts.”
The new remote online training platform will teach medical staff the basics of ICU training, how to monitor and interpret ICU equipment, and ventilation, amongst other skills.
Non-ICU staff will be able to use the platform to speak to ICU specialists, many of whom may be forced into self-isolation over the course of the outbreak.
It’s hoped the platform will allow the NHS to keep as many of their trained ICU staff on the frontline as possible, as they won’t be required to spend too much of their time training new recruits.
“In five days, we developed the content, the interactive web systems and delivered the pilot to just shy of 100 candidates,” said Dr Corner.
“It has been a big task requiring a lot of IT support, content development and organisation in terms of recruiting and training tutors and candidates, but we’ve now began rolling it out and have trained 250 new ICU staff in the last three days.”