Partnership Working for the Shielded Population in Barnsley
Interviewee: Joe Minton, NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Barnsley Council identified vulnerable individuals in the local population using data from various sources including the electoral roll and adult social care.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Barnsley Council identified vulnerable individuals in the local population using data from various sources including the electoral roll, adult social care, Yorkshire Water, energy companies and other companies who may have a flag that determines social, economic, physical, mental health vulnerabilities.
A Vulnerability Index was formed and a strand of this was the shielded population. This identified roughly 60,000 households that had one or more vulnerability and were categorised by priority. The contact centre wrote to all those households to inform them of available support. In addition, they called 10,000 of the most vulnerable, resulting in hundreds taking up additional support which they might not have otherwise received.
The NHS work for this identified people on the shielded list, they were advised what shielding meant, how to do it and how to access support. Care plans were reassessed and advice on how to access appropriate services was given to minimise the risk of infection exposure.
The households taking up additional support, including access to essential supplies, is the key message in terms of impact of the programme as the outbound calling proved effective and appreciated by the recipients.
The shielded patient programme finished at the end of July 2020 as did proactive outbound work in the contact centre. The vulnerability index from a patient perspective had positive feedback as they appreciated being contacted, even if they did not need anything. For many who were unable to leave the house or did not see family as much, it was a welcome form of communication to break up the isolation.
The Intelligence cell has been a positive development in understanding the data and provides a system view of what is happening, giving equal weighting to areas of the system that are not as well understood or prioritised in the way should be.
- The CCG will be looking at development around use cases which need a lot more engagement from clinicians in the NHS, CCG and wider organisations who need to understand how to use this information in different ways to improve health outcomes in Barnsley. User engagement/research is necessary.
- Revision of the current index from being context specific to considering other data sets that could strengthen and improve.
- The IG component: what is feasible for an IG that can determine differentiation in data sets.
- People engagement, how their information is used and highlighting these concerns.
Key Learning Points
- Inconsistencies in how advice was given was noted as many people were unaware that they were on the shielding patient list as well as mixed messages from hospitals and GPs. In the event of a resurgence of cases in Barnsley, a local plan would involve better preparation and avoidance of past errors.