Establishing an Intensive Treatment Unit Transfer Bank to combat COVID-19 with Imperial College Health Partners


More timely patient transfers, estimated to cost £21.5k per unit/per week

4 day implementation from the first point of contact

15% reduced reliance on agency staff

Wider clinical pool increases the number of filled shifts and supports patient safety

Reduced admin burden – allowing staff to focus on other priorities

£30,000 savings per organisation in the first 3 months

The Challenge

With COVID-19 admissions on the rise, the North West London Critical Care Network (NWL CCN) was struggling to keep up with demand as critical care beds were running out across a number of hospitals. Focusing initially on one of their London sites, Northwick Park, NWL CCN enlisted the expertise of Imperial College Health Partners and Patchwork Health to set up a new Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) Transfer Project, which expanded across multiple Trusts in North West London in just a few days.

The ITU Transfer Project was established to facilitate the rapid transfer of patients to sites with greater critical care capacity, ensuring safe and efficient care was maintained across the region during the peak of the pandemic.

The Solution

Within just 4 days from NWL CCN’s first point of contact with Patchwork, a bespoke staff bank solution was implemented. The ability to book shifts within Patchwork’s app ensured all approved clinicians had a simple way to efficiently book shifts, while providing management teams with oversight every step of the way. It also relieved a significant administrative burden for the CCN – a large amount of tasks for workforce teams were automated, clinicians could digitally track their own shifts and timesheets, and real-time digital broadcasting of vacant shifts to workers was achieved. Processes were standardised and volunteer workers had all of the information they needed before working a shift.


  • More timely patient transfers, improving patient safety
  • Improved coordination with better matching of available clinicians to patient demand
  • Relieved pressure on ITUs across London, alleviating regional discrepancies in quality of care due to transfer delays
  • Reduced delays in patient transfer, estimated to cost £21.5k per unit/per week
  • Estimated net cost-benefit of £30k per organisation based on 15% reduced reliance on agency staff

Patchwork took the time to really understand our problem and were incredibly flexible, patient and responsive to our changing requirements; constantly iterating their solution to fit our needs. All of our clinicians were provided with bespoke comms and activated within 24 hours of joining the digital bank via the app.

Dr Hai Lin Leung Innovation Advisor | Imperial College Health Partners

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