University and NHS Grampian join forces to plan Covid-19 response

A team from the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian have been awarded funding from NHS Grampian Endowment Fund to prepare hospitals for the future of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The team of Health Data Scientists, clinicians and biomedical engineers are working together to create a model of the Covid-19 care requirements that can be used to inform NHS Grampian service provision.

The model will consider different scenarios, taking into account the way Covid-19 spreads, the previous care needs for patients admitted to NHS Grampian hospitals, changes in lockdown measures and a raft of other factors that feed in to this response.

Using data gathered from patients that have already been admitted to hospital in NHS Grampian during the crisis, the model will be used to guide how NHS Grampian should plan resources and infrastructure going forward. 

The model is specific to NHS Grampian, using local data and is one of several similar projects across Scotland, each focussing on unique area needs.

Once developed, this model will help inform whether there is a need for more beds, or staff, or whether resources can be distributed back in to day to day running of the hospital.

The model can be used to help plan for various possible scenarios like the emergence of a second wave of Covid-19.

Dr Dimitra Blana from the Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science at the University explains: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding to help in the Covid-19 effort.

“This pandemic has forced rapid changes across the NHS to care for Covid-19 patients. The NHS must now balance the needs of Covid-19 patients with the care it has always provided. Our team is trying to create tools to support this care planning in NHS Grampian.

“Modelling is a valuable tool that we hope will help inform NHS Grampian’s response as the Covid-19 pandemic continues on. It is impossible to predict what will happen, but using local data we can help to build a picture of how different factors feed into the clinical needs of Covid-19 patients. This new local model will be used to make predictions of what care patients in Grampian will need – building in scenarios such as a jump in the r number or changes in public behaviour.

“This model then will the allow NHS Grampian to see how the Covid-19 outbreak develops, and respond to changes as quickly as possible to ensure there are beds, staff, and equipment where they are needed for both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients.”

Sheena Lonchay, Operations Manager from NHS Grampian Endowment Fund, the leading heath charity in Grampian added: “Our Trustees agreed at the start of the pandemic to support research into Covid-19 and are delighted to award research funding of £91,000 towards the University of Aberdeen’s data modelling project.  NHS Grampian Endowment Fund welcomes the opportunity to support NHS Grampian to continue to provide the best possible care for all patients in hospital across Grampian”.