Ultrasound Clinic at AECC University College Supports University Hospitals Dorset with Covid Relief Effort

Throughout March, the Ultrasound Clinic at AECC University College has been pulling out all the stops to deliver 1,000 Ultrasound scans on behalf of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust (UHD).

This was a collaboration between UHD, the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and AECC University College, designed to increase the capacity of NHS Ultrasound Services during the Covid-19 pandemic and made possible by Central Government funding support.

Due to its success, the collaboration has been extended into April 2021, when the Ultrasound Clinic will deliver 525 further Ultrasound examinations.

The additional Ultrasound scans were carried out primarily by the AECC University College academic faculty, who worked overtime, as well as two members of part-time UHD staff who took on additional hours.

In-house Ultrasound expertise

Head of the School of Radiology, Warren Foster said: “We were in a strong position to support the NHS in this collaboration. Our Ultrasound Clinic has top-of-the-range equipment and facilities – and many members of staff are already NHS employees, undertaking this work in their normal roles.

“We were therefore able to offer the same level of Ultrasound provision as would be available from a Radiology department in a hospital. 

“We were also able to turn this around really quickly; the first NHS patient walked through the doors just seven days after we signed the contract. We had been preparing in the background but meeting the deadline was an impressive achievement. 

“We’ve seen a superhuman effort from staff in the Ultrasound Clinic. The team has been working late to deliver evening lists and working every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month.

“It’s fantastic to think that the team has essentially helped to reduce the NHS Ultrasound Services waiting list in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch by 1,000 patients in just four weeks.

“We reached out to UHD and CCG right at the beginning of the outbreak of Covid-19. We’ve been keen to strengthen our relationship with the NHS for a number of years. The benefit to our Ultrasound and undergraduate Radiography students, as well as UHD, is huge.

“As part of our contract, we are able to gather cases and images for teaching material with consent. We are also able to offer patients the opportunity to support ultrasound training as volunteers for teaching.

“Not only are we supporting our local NHS Trust to recover from Covid-19, we’re also creating additional training capacity for Sonographers to increase NHS staffing for the future.”

As a teaching institution, the University College offers an impressive staff skillset, meaning the Ultrasound Clinic was able to fulfil all necessary Ultrasound scans. These included Oncology cancer follow-ups, cancer surveillance scans, Urology scans  including renal failure follow-ups, Gynaecology examinations, MSK and some limited vascular exams.

Appointments were available from 9am to 8pm  and patients were eligible for free parking on campus.

Infrastructure to protect patient records

Warren continues: “In order to maintain and protect the patient record, we’ve established two methods. We have set up a secure internet connection with the hospital and they the UHD team has also installed their own computers on-site with their own reporting stations.

“These stations are equipped with voice recognition reporting, which means staff can talk into the patient record in real-time and the software converts it into text. This means our staff are able to issue near-instantaneous reports into the hospital system.

“We have also used our existing information portal to transfer all of the images to the hospital’s database.”

You can find out more about our on-site Ultrasound Clinic here.