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4ways COVID-19 response update (October 2020)

As we have continued to adapt our working practices to deal with the ever changing situation of the global pandemic, we are writing to further update on how we at 4ways continue to operate around Covid-19 in line with government guidelines.

Last Updated: 06/10/2020

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 though their care pathways in a timely fashion.

Where the NHS has been focused on the recovery of routine elective care in recent weeks, 4ways has again supported, ensuring swift timely reporting to assist around the clock in addressing the unprecedented waiting lists built up during the lockdown period.

Throughout this time, we have always acted 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 & operational support teams, to provide a first-class service against a back drop of an ever changing situation. 

We fully appreciate your planning around safety measures combined with the need to address greater volumes and potentially manage increasing volumes of Covid-19 cases. 4ways stands ready to support any reporting requirements across all of our routine, specialist, super specialist and urgent services

In line with Government guidelines, we continue to adapt and flex to ensure that our staff work safely to meet your requirements and support our panel of Radiologists to deliver the highest levels of clinical reporting.

What we have done to support Covid-19 requirements

NHS Client SupportFree of Charge use of 4ways platform during the peak of Covid-19 cases for our NHS clients allowing their Radiologists to report Covid-19 Trust activity from home on 4ways systems.

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

Radiologists SupportFree 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 of Covid-19 infections and impending winter pressures, we are well positioned to support these efforts in the coming months.

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 a high quality and accurate reporting service to NHS Trusts and private hospitals and aid in the improvement of patient outcomes.

Radiologist’s Professional Development – 4ways has been a key sponsor to the Royal College of Radiologist’s educational webinars and the Headline Sponsor for this year’s RCR Digital Learning Platform, enabling on line clinical webinars and learning for all RCR members & delegates.

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 already 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 are also now implementing the latest 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.

4ways Staff:

Working from home

In line with Government advice to work from home where you can, 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 – 4ways has adapted our offices in line with Government guidelines and social distancing requirements ensuring a safe working environment for our core staff on site

  • 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
  • We have enhanced cleaning schedules & re-inforce hygiene routines
  • All staff will have a temperature scan on entry to the offices
  • 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 robustness to support the ongoing recovery of routine elective care services, surges in Covid-19 cases and winter pressures and the inevitable increase in demand as a result of growing waiting lists.

We are available to discuss taking on increased demand from existing and new clients across our full range of services; Day Time Urgent (DTU), Night Time Urgent (NTU), Routine and Specialist.

Given the ever changing landscape, we remain agile and flexible to support our Clients across all services as we all continue to constantly adapt to new normals.

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.