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Lockdown Story: Oxford University Hospitals Trust

Faculty Fellow Dr Natasha Jones is a former Vice-President of the Faculty, and Clinical Director of our Moving Medicine initiative. During the COVID 19 outbreak, her team at Oxford University Hospitals Trust worked in A&E departments and acute medical wards, carried out remote consultations, and designed COVID recovery resources. Below, Dr Jones tells us her team’s lockdown story:

We’d love to hear your lockdown story. To share yours, please contact us at enquries@fsem.ac.uk

As we start to get back to some semblance of normality following the lockdown period, it is helpful to look back and reflect on what our specialty was able to contribute to the COVID response. I have been proud of my colleagues in Oxford who all stepped up without question to support our NHS. As lockdown became imminent we were all left wondering how our skills could be best used to support acute services, while keeping our own musculoskeletal services running and safe for our patients.

Four of our five SpR’s were immediately re-deployed to A&E throughout the lockdown period leaving only one SpR, who was shielding. They stepped up to remote triage and remote consultation, managing literally hundreds of remote consultations from home. All of our consultants were re-deployed to the trauma wards, working as ortho-geriatrics consultants in the hip fracture pathway. After nearly 20 years since being on acute medical wards, this was challenging to say the least, but after many nocturnal hours reading trust guidelines we all began to feel more comfortable managing ward rounds again.

Alongside this, the team as a whole triaged over 600 patients whose appointments had been cancelled, remotely consulting with them all throughout the lockdown period. We successfully set up our remote service and audited its clinical efficacy and patient and staff satisfaction. Our Active Hospital team set to work as a part of a wider team to create post COVID exercise guidelines, some of which are published on the Moving Medicine website.

So, what has changed since lockdown and what can we take from this? I have been so impressed with the speed in which our clinicians were able to respond when untied by red tape. Having worked in the NHS for many years how easy it suddenly became to make change! Our new remote services will continue in a modified form into the future because our patients want it and it’s a great step forward.  Meetings, now largely remote using software like Teams or Zoom, are much less time consuming and seem to make more progress. And, as far as going back on medical wards is concerned – I hope that bit remains a distant, albeit warm, memory!

We’d love to hear your lockdown story. To share yours, please contact us at enquries@fsem.ac.uk