Over 2,000 staff have returned to NHS to fight COVID-19
More than 2,000 health professionals have returned to work in the UK's National Health Service (NHS) to help fight COVID-19, many of whom have come out of retirement.
According to figures sourced by software company WhosOffice, 2,150 former NHS staff have returned to the workforce since the start of the pandemic in March, as part of the Bring Back Staff scheme.
This followed a public appeal by the government for nurses and doctors to return and help tackle the virus. Emergency legislation was quickly passed so that retired doctors and nurses could easily re-register. According to reports, although 25,000 people signed up, only 1,600 had been deployed in hospitals by April.
WhosOffice, a software company that creates staff management tools, obtained the figure under the Freedom of Information Act (2000). They contacted 228 NHS Foundation Trusts to gather this data, and received feedback from 76 trusts. Of those who responded, all but nine confirmed at least one member of staff had returned to their hospitals since the COVID-19 outbreak, with some hospital trusts attracting more than 200 returning health professionals.
London, Sussex in the south east of England, and Yorkshire in the north experienced the highest number of returning health professionals, many of whom were coming out of retirement or transferred from the private sector.
WhosOffice is currently trialling its new scheduling software in a hospital trust in the South East. The tool contains a new task planner feature, which lets staff to check where they are needed during the course of each shift using a mobile app.
One of the steps of the UK government's Long Term Plan for the NHS is to roll out electronic rosters across all hospital trusts by 2021.
“Healthcare workers are the pride of Britain" Reg Groombridge, Co-Founder and Director at WhosOffice, said. "Given their dedicated, compassionate nature, it’s not surprising that thousands have returned to their roots this year, to help the NHS care for those worst affected by COVID-19.
“Our NHS workers are doing an outstanding job in the most difficult circumstances, and WhosOffice is grateful to have played a small part in making their daily task load easier to manage. We hope to roll out our technology into other hospital trusts soon, so staff can spend less time on logistics and more time on incredibly valuable front-line work.”
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.