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Rapid implementation of virtual clinics due to COVID-19: report and early evaluation of a quality improvement initiative
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  • Published on:
    The continued use of Virtual Clinics post COVID-19: Patient feedback Study
    • Sinead J Fanning, Foundation Year Two Doctor Brighton and Sussex University Hospital
    • Other Contributors:
      • Shameen Jaunoo, Consultant Oesophagogastric Surgeon

    We read the report by Gilbert et al on the rapid implementation of virtual clinics in reponse to COVID-19, with particular interest into the high satisfaction scores given by patients and clinicians into the use of virtual clinics.

    We conducted a retrospective patient feedback survey at Brighton at Sussex University Hospital looking at patient feedback on the use of Virtual Clinics as an alternative to face to face clinic appointments in General Surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that virtual clinics are well accepted by patients and should continue to be utilised post COVID-19 forming part of integrated care pathways in outpatient care.

    The use of Virtual clinics are novel to the department and were implemented as a consequence of the social distancing measures introduced to stop the spread of coronavirus during the COVID-19 pandemic. We identified the need to seek feedback from the patients attending these clinics, recognising that patient opinion is invaluable to the development and sustainability of services.

    Over 100 patients were contacted asking them to fill out an online survey, patients who did not have an email address were asked if they wanted to complete a shorted survey over the telephone; 73 patients responded across both surveys.

    Data collected suggests that virtual clinics are well received by patients. 77.8% (n=42) reported that they had no problems accessing the virtual clinic. 87.7% (n=64) of patients reported...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Managing a community eating disorder service with virtual clinics during Covid 19
    • Victoria Chapman, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
    • Other Contributors:
      • Teizeem Dhanji, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
      • Tara Porter, Clinical Psychologist
      • Teresa Pacchiega, Family Therapist
      • Rahul Chodhari, Consultant Paediatrician
      • Samantha Swinglehurst, Lead Nurse

    We read with interest the RNOH report regarding rapid implementation of virtual clinics due to Covid-19 (Gilbert et al, BMJ Open, 21 May 2020). The Royal Free Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Service (RF-EDS) has similarly been required to adapt the service rapidly during the Covid-19 crisis, such that 95% of our patients have been treated by telephone or videoconferencing.

    The clinical needs of our patients to receive evidence-based treatment, needed to be balanced with the risks of Covid infection. Eating disorders have the highest mortality of all psychiatric disorders and early treatment has been shown to improve outcomes. Treatment is usually outpatient care with a minority requiring short hospital admissions for medical stabilisation. The RF-EDS has a day service, which has managed higher risk patients in the community as paediatric wards in North Central London have closed/relocated during the pandemic.

    Since the pandemic, all routine treatment to current patients has been via video or telephone, with high-risk patients continuing face-to-face care (socially distanced or with PPE). This can be stepped-up to prevent hospital admission. Meal support, a weekly parent support group and drop-in clinic have been set up to run via videoconference.

    From 23/03/20 to 01/05/20, the number of new referrals to the service was similar to the same period in 2019 (19). The number of outpatient contacts was 731 and 96% of these were treated in virtual cli...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.