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Local authority introduces digital system to monitor PPE levels, staff availability and infection


By Awil Mohamoud
Reporter
23 June 2020

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GP practices, care homes and pharmacies in Greater Manchester have begun using a digital system that allows them to monitor PPE stock levels and staffing availability across providers in the city, helping to spot and fill shortages. 

The system, which is labelled ‘the first of its kind’, creates a visual dashboard to ‘show a clear picture of operational pressures’ in the area and provides information about infection rates and outbreaks across their neighbouring providers in the city. 

Care providers regularly input information about PPE and staffing into a single system, which immediately flags any issues, so council staff can urgently escalate when necessary.

The situation reporting system has ‘transformed the way we work to support care homes across Bury’, said Bury council cabinet member for health and wellbeing councillor Andrea Simpson.

‘The situation reporting system has been so useful, we plan to continue using it when we move back into a more business as usual setting post Covid-19,’ she said.

The technology sits on a platform developed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership (GMHSC).

It is now operating in 540 Care Homes, 445 GP Practices and 681 pharmacies.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership chair Sir Richard Leese said: ‘The speed at which this new situation reporting tool is being deployed across our city-region is ground-breaking and is helping us manage this pandemic in a much more coherent and proactive way.’

In April, Greater Manchester announced that it had secured 14.5 million items of PPE through direct procurement to ensure frontline services in the area had sufficient supplies. 

In secondary care, NHS Kent and Medway CCG has also introduced technology that allows its dedicated Covid-19 NHS response team to instantly check the availability of staff, beds and crucial equipment used to care for coronavirus patients. 

The SHREWD Covid-19 system shows information about bed availability, including how many have ventilators, at all seven main hospitals in the area in real time. 

It similarly provides updates about staff availability and PPE supplies, so both can be redirected as needed. 

Although each part of England has an Incident Control Centre for this purpose, hospitals are often run by different organisations, which can make it difficult to access all the information consistently. 

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