In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen how many parts of the NHS are utilising digital technology to relieve some of the pressures faced by front line services. To help support the GP community with this transition to remote practicing Trustmarque, part of Capita PLC, has worked in partnership with the NHS to design virtual desktops for health.
A new partnership empowering GPs to continue critical services safely from home
GPs in the UK are now able to run critical patient services from the security of home thanks to a new solution that gives healthcare workers remote access to familiar clinical applications.
Trustmarque’s Virtual Desktops for Health has been designed in partnership with Trustmarque, Microsoft and NHS partners in the Midlands and London to bring a speedy and sustainable solution to meet the requirements of remote working and ease the pressure on clinical teams.
Harnessing the power of Microsoft Azure, Virtual Desktops for Health gives registered healthcare professionals secure, instant access to familiar healthcare applications like EMIS, SystmONE, Adastra, AccuRx, iGPR and Docman.
With access to full patient records and all appointments across a Practice or Clinic, GPs can collaborate to manage appointments, issue e-prescriptions and manage referrals.
How does it work?
The virtual desktop can be launched anywhere and from any Smart device, including laptops, Macs, Notebooks and smartphones - providing there is a secure WiFi or 4G connection. Users simply download and launch the application hosted in Windows 10 Virtual Desktop. Access to clinical applications is then authenticated via physical or Isosec virtual smartcards.
It is a particularly safe option for colleagues who are vulnerable, self-isolating or recently returned to work, reducing the need for contact and PPE. It has been designed to provide primary care professionals with easy, secure and flexible access to work across practices and other primary care services including NHS111, Out of Hours and Urgent Care.
Dr Damian Williams, a Birmingham based GP who has been involved in the project, made a short video explaining the solution. Watch his 2 minute overview on YouTube.
Current users and next steps
The initial project team includes a select group of GPs in Nottingham, as well as Ciaron Hoye, Programme Director for the East Midlands Local Health and Care Record, who have been working on the development and rollout to early adopters. There are currently over 1000 professionals who are provisioned to use the solution across Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, East England and London. However, it is hoped the solution will be extended to other GPs in the near future.
While designed as a rapid response to the Covid-19 challenges, Virtual Desktops for Health is not a temporary solution. Leveraging Trustmarque’s unique expertise in the healthcare sector and their long-standing relationship with Microsoft, the solution aims to bring lasting benefits and efficiencies, including up to 30% saving over a standard infrastructure lifecycle.
Find out more
We are working to support contractors, who continue to provide essential services for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we will be making the payments NHS England. These contractors will receive a monthly payment based on the average monthly reimbursement to the practice generated from GOS fees during the period March 2019 to February 2020.
Submitting GOS Claims
You should submit GOS claims as normal – cut-off dates haven’t changed. NHS England has advised during the COVID-19 period, claims can be submitted without a patient signature, as long as you enter ‘COVID-19’ in the patient signature box.
Your Open Exeter statement will contain details of the paper claims processed and will show the value of the positive payment adjustment, where applicable.
If you have submitted any electronic claims during the period, the details of these will be contained in your PCSE Online statement. In this scenario, the payment you receive will be the sum of the amounts on both your Open Exeter and PCSE Online statements.
If you have any queries relating to COVID-19 payments, please contact your NHS England regional office. Find contact details here.
Register for PCSE Online
During the COVID-19 situation, use PCSE Online to submit your GOS claims electronically, with zero contact, maximising safety for staff involved, enabling all parts of the system to adhere to the government's social distancing recommendations.
The PCSE Online system is free of charge and very easy to use. It provides you with a quicker and easier method of submitting GOS claims, together with a host of other benefits including:.
The set up process is simple, so if you haven’t already registered please contact the ophthalmic engagement team at email@example.com who will help you get online and start using the system.
For more information on the payments for optical practices providing essential eye care, visit AOP Coronavirus Updates.
We have agreed a change in process with NHS England to make it easier for any practices not already registered on PCSE Online to approve Performers joining or leaving their practice, or changes to their status. This comes into effect from Thursday 23 April.
To make registration simpler, we have moved to a non-contact approach which removes the need for a letter to be couriered to a GP practice to set up user registration. Instead, it has been agreed with NHS England that a practice’s senior Open Exeter contact can be pre-registered as the main User Administrator. Any changes to this named contact can be made by contacting the PCSE User Registration team at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 20 April. All users will be pre-registered on Thursday 23 April. User access can also be changed easily after this date, via the User Management area of PCSE Online.
There are two roles on PCSE Online that will be assigned under this process are:
Any questions can be sent directly to the User Registration team at email@example.com.
We understand the challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak places on Primary Care colleagues’ workloads and we want to keep you updated on what we are doing to support you during this time.
We continue to work with NHS England to prioritise services so that we can make sure they run smoothly, avoiding disruption to front line Primary Care. These essential services are:
Please note, as we focus on the above essential services during this time, it may take longer for us to process and resolve queries for other services.
PCSE will continue to work with NHS England to do everything we can to ensure practices are supported.
For updates on each of our services during the COVID-19 outbreak, please click here.
How to register
Even though you may have staff who already order supplies through PCSE Online, in order to assign staff for the Performers List or Payments roles, the Contract Manager of the practice must do two things: They must enter a unique code (found in the original registration letter) into PCSE Online to register your practice and then assign at least one person in your practice the role of ‘User Administrator’.
User Administrators are important because they assign all of the other roles available to you in PCSE Online. If possible, we recommend that you have more than one person assigned this role for contingency (you can have up to four).
PCSE sent a letter to Contract Managers in September 2019 that contained a unique registration code. This code expires on 31 March 2020 so, if you haven’t already registered, please make sure that you do so before then.
What if we don’t have the letter?
If the contractor at your practice did not receive the letter, or no longer has the letter, don’t worry. We’ll send you another one if you email your request to our dedicated user registration team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Contract Manager has registered our practice and assigned a User Administrator – what do we do next?
Your User Administrator/s should now be able to assign the other roles that your PCSE Online users will need (a User Administrator is purely someone who can assign roles).
Click this link to open our User Management Guide that explains the different types of role that your User Administrator can assign.
Each role has a different purpose. It’s possible for one single user to be a User Administrator and hold all of the other roles too, but you can also split the work up between different users, as you wish.
Please make sure that you know what each role does because the act of assigning a role to someone will grant that person permission to see data that you may consider sensitive or even confidential.
Get further help with our guides
As well as our User Management Guide, we have several other guides that may be of use, take a look below:
Guidance for PMS Users
If you use a Practice Management System (PMS) you also have to register for PCSE Online using the method explained above, this is because there are some things you can only do via PCSE Online. For example, you will use your PMS to process payments (eGOS), but you still have to use PCSE Online to see the statements for those payments (you can use it to track claims too).
We also recommend that you register for PCSE Online even if your PMS provider has not yet launched their eGOS service. This is because of the code expiry date in the letter we sent to contractors in September. It also means you will be ready for when your PMS goes live.