NEL and the Chief Operating Officer at Whittington Health NHS Trust in London worked collaboratively with system partners in the north central CCGs and Local Authorities to review the establishment of the Single Point of Access (SPA). A key component was the set-up of a discharge hub at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site at Whittington Health, to facilitate discharging patients home rapidly and safely.

In May 2020, key stakeholders came together for a virtual review meeting, drawing on the principles of the After Action Review (AAR) methodology to hear each other’s experiences and learn from the rapid establishment of the hub.

Key outcomes agreed were the need to preserve seven day working, whilst maintaining extended hours within an integrated model with key system partners and local community services. The group agreed that this would sustain the momentum and energy behind the improved discharge processes with faster decision-making that had been established. The group committed to:

  • Agree on a post COVID-19 model incorporating a range of key elements including embedding the system wide agreed discharge principles, facilitating patient choice and streamlining processes, whilst advancing the pace of safe and early discharges from acute care.
  • Consider the whole strategic system from a commissioning perspective, including cross-borough decision making and a review of community service requirements to meet the needs within a financially sustainable model.

Carol Gillen, COO at The Whittington said, “the AAR provided an excellent opportunity to reflect on how the SPA had delivered having been set up at pace in response to COVID-19. It was great to hear what worked well, what could have been different and the things that people wanted to keep and build on. It was good to have had this space to reflect on what had been achieved through system working in responding to this challenge.”

John Everson, Director at Haringey Council said, “the opportunity to come together with partners to openly discuss and review the rapid development of the SPA, to meet the huge challenges of COVID-19, was incredibly important. It will help us take the next important steps in evolving the SPA, that is built on the lessons we have learnt together, to deliver a sustainable and joined up approach into the future.”

Jan Annan, Associate Director at NEL said, “It was a real pleasure to work with the system to facilitate the learning, what worked well and to support the virtual group to identify what they could take forward in post COVID-19 restoration to develop the new future state. We are pleased that this approach has been of great benefit to the system to enable them to drive forward the new future state as part of COVID recovery planning.”

For more information contact Jan Annan –