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Matt HancockSpeaking on The Future of NHS Tech – Covid-19 and Beyond webinar, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Matt Hancock told more than 200 virtual attendees how there has been positive change in all three areas since the start of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said it will be “critical” for the NHS to work with the private sector to continue an uptake in use of technology such as telemedicine after the COVID-19 outbreak has subsided. The shift towards digital technology has led to closer working with private sector partners, data-led decision making and telemedicine, according to Hancock.

Hancock said: “Entrenching this better culture, both among patients and clinicians in the system, is mission critical, as well as entrenching data in decision-making, and entrenching the open enthusiasm for using the private sector to solve problems.”

Clap for NHSPeople are being asked to come out and clap at 5pm on Sunday 5 July to say thank you to all the NHS staff who have worked during the coronavirus crisis.  It comes after 10 weeks of Britons taking to their doorsteps, balconies and front gardens every Thursday evening to clap for carers.

This nationwide clap to thank the NHS is intended to become an annual tradition. People will be encouraged to applaud the heroes of the pandemic with family and friends at 5pm that Sunday, which is the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. Many broadcasters will break away from normal programming to mark the moment.

On 4 July, the evening before, people will be asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of all those lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Major public buildings, including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and the Wembley Arch, will be lit up in blue.

At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, households across the country regularly applauded healthcare workers from their doorsteps every Thursday evening. The Clap for Carers initiative started on 25 March and was the brainchild of Dutch-born Londoner Annemarie Plas. The weekly tradition was often accompanied by the banging of pots and pans. It was Ms Plas herself who called for the tradition to end after its 10th week and she expressed her hope that it could instead become an annual event.

NHS EnglandHealth leaders have set out a series of measures to help local hospitals plan to increase routine operations and treatment, while keeping the necessary capacity and capability to treat future coronavirus patients.

Over the coming weeks patients who need important planned procedures – including surgery – will begin to be scheduled for that care, with specialists prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need, but, in line with measures currently in place to protect staff and patients who have been receiving urgent treatment during the pandemic, they will be required to isolate themselves for 14 days and be clear of any symptoms before being admitted.

Testing will also be increasingly offered to those waiting to be admitted to provide further certainty for patients and staff that they are COVID-free.  This approach will help to protect patients from potentially catching the virus in hospital, and help staff to ensure they are using the correct infection control measures and protective equipment.  Those requiring urgent and emergency care will continue to be tested on arrival and streamed accordingly, with services split to make the risk of picking up the virus in hospital as low as possible.  Those attending emergency departments and other ‘walk-in’ services will be required to maintain social distancing, with trusts expected to make any adjustments necessary to allow this.

Dialysis machineDialysis machines are used to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. The treatment, known as hemofiltration, is a delicate process which mimics the kidney, by continually cleaning the blood of toxins and rebalancing it with, for example, electrolytes. The technique requires a very specific range of kit and fluids to work.

Due to the sharp increase in demand, “continuous” dialysis machines and the fluids needed to run them are running low, along with other consumables such as the tubing needed to connect a patient to the machine.

The Department of Health has issued a supply disruption alert stating that the clinical presentation of Covid-19 patients admitted to critical care suggests that there is a higher than usual demand for Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) in patients where viral disease is the reason for admission. Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) are reporting that 28.8% of patients requiring advanced respiratory support also require RRT (17th April 2020 ICNARC)

Nightingale hospitalThank you to the EBME / Medical Engineers currently working hard to commission thousands of ‘Covid-19’ medical equipment assets for hospitals and wards across the UK.

New field hospitals, and new Covid-19 hospital wards within our current NHS hospitals are currently being transformed to provide support for many the thousands of sick patients with the covid-19 virus.

To actually commission the equipment country-wide requires a monumental effort from the medical engineering community, with many engineers from the public and private sectors teaming up to accelerate the process from unpacking the equipment to setting up the bed space.

Each of those bed spaces needs a variety of equipment, including the bed, ventilator, patient monitor, defibrillator, syringe pumps, infusion pumps, flowmeters, and suction. (with the associated piped gases). These devices are assembled, checked, and installed into the bed space. We are proud of all our professional colleagues, who are making such a tremendous effort to get these bed spaces operational. It is the hard work of these engineers and technicians, that enables additional equipment to be ready for the doctors and nurses to use. NHS critical care capacity will continue to increase over the coming weeks, by several thousand beds, with the support and hard work of our medical engineering community.

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