A modelling tool used to ensure health trusts maintain sufficient levels of life-saving equipment and bed spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic has been praised during a BBC Spotlight interview for helping the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital to adapt to change during the pandemic.
The tool was created as a result of a collaboration between PenARC, University of Exeter Researchers and the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RDEFT). The project was led by Professor Gavin Shaddick, resulting in the development of a new data modelling tool to help forecast demand on crucial NHS resources across the region.
The modelling tool forecasts have been used to help predict the demand for in-patient beds, intensive care, PPE, ventilators, oxygen and testing kits. The analysis works by comparing local patterns of the spread of COVID-19 with other areas nationally and abroad. The researchers can use daily ‘live’ data to adjust their forecasts as the spread of the disease evolves in local populations.
Speaking to BBC Spotlight and reflecting on the current challenges and pressures of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Adrian Harris, Chief Medical Officer at RDEFT and NDHT said: “I’m really grateful to the work of the University of Exeter and the CCG, they’ve provided a really fantastic model. We can see that we will see a gradual increase in covid patients into our hospitals over the next few weeks and months.”
Professor Gavin Shaddick said: “I am delighted to hear our modelling work is continuing to make a real difference to our local healthcare services. This was a truly collaborative effort, and it was an honour to work with our NHS colleagues to develop this tool. Data is key to understanding the spread of COVID-19, and our forecasting tool can give our healthcare colleagues confidence in making evidence-based decisions during these challenging times.”
The forecasting model developed by the University team has been made available online to a group of senior clinicians including microbiologists, disease infection and prevention specialists and executives as well as public health and commissioning experts.
NHS Trusts who are interested in making use of the tool should contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.