The annual Causeway Awards have grown to become a high-profile, prestigious celebration of the thriving professional relationships and connections between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland and present a unique opportunity to showcase professional success stories, from both sides of the Irish Sea.
NSS in conjunction with mPower Project, Scottish Government, and HSE submitted their projected NHS Near Me/Attend Anywhere Video Consultation forward for the award. This award recognises the ingenuity of an organisation or programme that bravely tried to do something new without the guarantee of immediate success.
This award is for an organisation who has implemented an inventive and alternative approach – either through a new way of thinking or executing strategies.
The group are in the process of rolling out Attend Anywhere nationally across the Republic of Ireland. Attend Anywhere is a safe, simple video conferencing tool, initially used in Scotland and now elsewhere that enables health professionals to continue to see patients, albeit virtually for a video call consultation during the current COVID-19 epidemic. This allows people to see their clinician or health care professional in a safe and timely manner.
Julie Bellew, Deputy IT Delivery Director for the HSE said “This rapid growth from only 2 active waiting rooms in April 2020 to now 47 shows the dedication and professionalism at play here. A key enabler for us has been the openness and support from the Scottish Technology Enabled Care (TEC) team who have supported us throughout this process whenever we have needed it. I am so very proud of the work the mPower team are doing. Their flexibility and adaptability mean that this work will have a tremendous impact across the country at this time. This is enabled by the creativity and innovation so evident from this collective partnership approach.’’
The different teams who are now set up range from the Community Physios to the Child and Adult Mental Health Services, and from Audiology service using the platform for virtual hearing aid fittings to Dietetics clinics.
The platform has been so well received that the more the sector hear about it, the more they want to access it as soon as possible. Moya Ferguson, a Senior Physiotherapist from St. Joseph's Hospital, Stranorlar said “Attend Anywhere has enabled us to actively engage with our clients face to face via video call. We have found it to be a great adjunct to physiotherapy. We have been able to check clients range of movement, their gait, provide home exercise programmes and progress their rehab such as getting them off crutches and sticks.”
The service user experience has been hugely positive too. One service user from Donegal said “The video call was very good. It reassured me that I was doing the exercises correctly and helped me feel more confident. I wouldn’t have been able to see the physio otherwise, because the department is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.”
Another said, “It was helpful that the physio could see me doing my exercises, I found it very good.”
And a service user’s daughter commented: “Very beneficial, as the physio could see my mother in her home and was able to identify some of the issues she would have such as a step between two rooms, a chair causing an obstruction and mats on the floor that might be a trip hazard."
With 2020 being a challenging year for many professionals and organisations, Causeway Awards believed they needed more than ever to showcase positive stories of triumph and celebrate the connections within the network. It may be virtual but it is still bringing people together!
Alan Connor International Engagement Manager - Technology Enabled Care and Digital Healthcare Innovation on winning the award said: “Thank you I am delighted. It epitomises exactly what we want to do. It really shows the importance of the connection between the two countries. It is really exciting to see the project being valued. It is great to celebrate about 40 people and about 15- 20 different organisations behind it. This came together very quickly in the face of the virus. Scotland is a few years ahead so It was important to help other countries and be open with the things we have. There so much value in having an open exchange.”
Well done to all of the teams involved, you can watch the awards being announced here.