Last Updated: 08/01/2021
4ways has continued to support urgent reporting services to the NHS, supporting swift patient flow through Emergency Departments, inpatient care, and appropriate decisions on treatment to move patients through their care pathways in a timely fashion.
Where the NHS also works to manage both Covid-19 and the recovery of routine elective, 4ways continue to support, ensuring swift timely reporting to assist around the clock in addressing the unprecedented waiting lists built up during the initial lockdown period and in supporting any capacity constraints within the NHS as a result of Covid isolations and redeployments.
Throughout this time, we have always acted and continue to act flexibly with a view of preparedness ensuring a safe, measured, and proportional response. Our actions have continued to strengthen the resilience and robustness of our core reporting infrastructure enabling our teleradiologists, supported by our IT and technical and operational support teams, to provide a first-class service against a backdrop of an ever-changing situation.
We fully appreciate your planning around safety measures combined with the need to address routine elective volumes and manage increasing volumes of Covid-19 cases. 4ways stands ready to support any reporting requirements across all our routine, specialist, super specialist and urgent services.
In line with Government guidelines, we continue to make any necessary enhancements to ensure that our staff work safely and meet government health and safety regulations and to meet your requirements, supporting our panel of Radiologists to deliver the highest levels of clinical reporting.
What we have done to support Covid-19 requirements
NHS Client Support – Free of charge use of 4ways platform during the peak of the first wave of Covid-19 cases for our NHS clients allowing their Radiologists to report Covid-19 Trust activity from home on 4ways systems.
During this time, 4ways has also provided our expert in-house operational support in administering to this activity through our systems and processes, also free of charge.
Dedicated Covid-19 reporting within our urgent services and adoption of BTSI reporting templates to reflect national guidance and standards.
Radiologists Support – Free of charge use of 4ways Diagnostic Monitors on Trust equipment
Essential Service Provider – 4ways is designated as an “Essential Service for the Provision of Critical Care” under NHS England. This continues to provide our staff with the permissions they may still need to ensure those with school-aged children are able to send their children to school, enabling them to keep working.
NHS England Collaboration – 4ways has worked closely with NHS England’s Independent Sector (IS) Coordination Team which has allowed us to stand ready in wider support of the Covid effort and recovery. With an increase in Covid-19 infections and coupled with winter pressures, we remain well-positioned to support these efforts in the months ahead.
Clinical Focus – 4ways Radiologists have access to the industry-leading diagnostic and educational support tool STATdx which includes specific modules for the reporting of Covid-19.
Our Clinical Leadership Team closely monitors developments and learning as the world continues to understand more about the virus, sharing all latest updates and knowledge with the panel to assist our teleradiologists to continue to deliver high quality and accurate reporting services to NHS Trusts and private hospitals and aid in the improvement of patient outcomes.
Radiologist’s Professional Development – 4ways has maintained our internal feedback and learning activities to our Radiologists, providing online forums for the review of interesting cases, learning links and shared learning from audit cases.
What we are doing now
Technical Infrastructure – 4ways has taken the opportunity to accelerate IT maintenance schedules and upgrade projects, making our systems even more robust and future-proofed. Our networks have migrated to HSCN and as we near completion of a major upgrade to our core IBM MERGE PACS, efficiencies are clearly evident.
Microsoft Teams has been deployed throughout the company to allow ease of access to our clients where we are unable to meet you in person.
In support, we have also implemented Office365 across the company to support ease of working for our core staff onsite in our offices and the majority working remotely from home. In doing so, our service delivery to our clients is seamless, regardless of location of our operatives.
Working from home
In line with government advice to work from home unless you are unable to do so, the majority of routine operational and support staff continue to work remotely from home, supported by our 24/7 IT technical support along with individual employee support from managers and our HR team.
Any member of staff advised to isolate as part of the NHS Covid-19 Test & Trace system is able to maintain their work from home without disruption.
Safe Office Working – As designated essential workers, core staff and those supporting critical reporting services continue to work safely from our Hemel Hempstead offices. 4ways has fully adapted our offices in line with government guidelines and social distancing requirements ensuring a safe working environment for our core staff on site.
Our measures have been approved by the Health & Safety Executive and noted as being of a high standard of compliance.
We have reduced staff seating capacity by almost half, clearly marking desks that should not be occupied.
- We stagger start and finish times to avoid congestion.
- Vulnerability risk assessments determine who will return to the office when the situation allows and who will continue to work from home.
- Clear signage and touch free hand sanitizers have been installed throughout office.
- A full range of non-clinical PPE is available for staff, including disposable masks and gloves.
- Face coverings to be worn at all times in the office when not seated at desks or consuming refreshments in the kitchen.
- We have enhanced cleaning schedules & re-enforce hygiene routines.
- All staff will have a temperature scan on entry to the offices.
- To further ensure the safety and wellbeing of our core staff in the office, we have purchased approved SARS-CoV-2 Rapid testing kits to allow us to test those working on site. This will enable fast decision making on the safety of core staff, reducing the risk of further spread. In addition, this will enable screening of individuals who become symptomatic during their shift or after exposure to an infected person.
- All company supplied mobile telephones installed with the NHS Covid-19 Test & Trace App.
- Test & Trace QR codes displayed in our offices for all staff and any visitors to scan and record their attendance at our location.
We have implemented these and other actions to ensure our services are maintained and to provide robustness in supporting the surge in Covid-19, the recovery of routine elective care services and winter pressures. Looking forward to the near future and the improvements to the current situation that the Covid-19 vaccination programme will bring, we are well prepared to assist with the inevitable increase in demand as a result of ever-growing waiting lists.
At 4ways, we remain agile and flexible to support our Clients across all services as we all continue to constantly adapt to the changing landscape we are faced with.
We believe our current model is robust and is a core part of clients’ Radiology Business Continuity and planning and is continually and flexibly adapting to support the NHS where it needs it the most.
We continue to monitor and will keep you up to date with any further developments. You can find our earlier responses to COVID-19 here.