GIRFT team helps with COVID-19 training for care workers

Coronavirus image with carer holding hand of elderly person

The team at Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) is supporting a newly-formed academy to train care workers in the fight against COVID-19.

GIRFT’s partner trust, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) NHS Trust, has formed the training academy to develop and deliver training and guidance for staff working in care homes and home care services in infection control, swab testing and the correct use of personal protection equipment (PPE).

Working closely with colleagues at NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England, GIRFT’s special project team is co-ordinating the national roll-out of that training. The model will see at least 150-200 super-trainers trained virtually, who will then train nursing colleagues in regional CCGs, who will in turn cascade their knowledge to care workers locally.

The GIRFT team is applying its skills and expertise to a number of projects to assist in the COVID-19 crisis. As well as clinicians working on the frontline and staff redeployed to support roles, the programme is helping with:

Shaping the clinical framework during and post COVID-19

GIRFT clinical leads are helping to highlight COVID-related risks and issues within their specialty and providing guidance and solutions to be shared with clinicians, both during and after the crisis. Where there are similar themes, the information is being collated and applied across all where appropriate.

Checking and verifying personal protection equipment (PPE)

Many of the GIRFT team have been redeployed to work on a project verifying the technical specification of items of personal protection equipment offered for sale to the NHS procurement team. In addition, the programme’s clinical leads are offering advisory support where it is needed, with the aim of speeding up the supply of PPE to the frontline.

Supporting community healthcare providers with multidisciplinary (MDT) hubs

With COVID-19 creating a need to introduce virtual community support sessions, multidisciplinary (MDT) hubs are being established to provide ongoing peer-to-peer expertise and support to community healthcare providers nationally. GIRFT Chair Professor Tim Briggs and clinical lead for respiratory Dr Martin Allen are involved, alongside experts from the community team at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Based on observations and anticipated impact, three core areas of work have initially been prioritised – rehabilitation, respiratory care and wound care. Providers seeking support from the MDT hub can email

This programme of work is likely to start this month and will continue as part of the post-COVID NHS transformation.

Developing a guide to remote consultations

The GIRFT team has contributed to developing the NHS guide to remote and virtual consultations to enable patients to be treated and cared for while adhering to social distancing rules. Among other uses, virtual consultations are currently being used to triage cases, undertake visual assessments, and for check-ups and therapy sessions. The NHS guide offers step-by-step advice for setting up, conducting and following up on remote consultations, as well as guidance on reassuring patients about the process. 

Coordinating personal protection equipment (PPE) training for independent sector staff

GIRFT is supporting the team at RNOH to deliver PPE training for independent hospitals in the London region. This mainly involves ‘buddying’ NHS trusts with independent hospitals to help with any training needs.

Professor Tim Briggs, GIRFT Chair and the National Director of Clinical Improvement for the NHS, said: “GIRFT is doing all it can to help in this crisis, both at the frontline and in helping parts of the system where required.

“Our team has a lot to offer in maintaining critical care during this pandemic and restoring care afterwards, and we look forward to having some influence on future working and driving change at pace.”

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