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2.
European Journal of Public Health ; 31:2, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1610559
3.
European Journal of Public Health ; 31, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1514812

ABSTRACT

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers had to abruptly change their way of providing care in order to simultaneously plan for and manage a rise of COVID-19 cases while maintaining essential health services. Even the most well-resourced health systems faced pressures from new challenges brought on by COVID-19, and every country had to make difficult choices about how to maintain access to essential care while treating a novel communicable disease. Using the information available on the HSRM platform from the early phases of the pandemic, we analyze how countries planned services for potential surge capacity, designed patient flows ensuring separation between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, and maintained routine services in both hospital and outpatient settings. Many country responses displayed striking similarities despite very real differences in the organization of health and care services. These include transitioning the management of COVID-19 mild cases from hospitals to outpatient settings, increasing the use of remote consultations, and cancelling or postponing non-urgent services during the height of the first wave. In the immediate future, countries will have to continue balancing care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients to minimize adverse health outcomes, ideally with supporting guidelines and COVID-19-specific care zones. Many countries expect to operate at lower capacity for routinely provided care, which will impact patient access and waiting times. Looking forward, policymakers will have to consider whether strategies adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic will become permanent features of care provision.

4.
European Journal of Public Health ; 31, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1514528

ABSTRACT

Background Health workers have been at the forefront of treating and caring for patients with COVID-19. They were often under immense pressure to care for severely ill patients with a new disease, under strict hygiene conditions and with lockdown measures creating practical barriers to working. This study aims to explore the range of mental health, financial and other practical support measures that 36 countries in Europe and Canada have put in place to support health workers and enable them to do their job. Methods We use data extracted from the COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor (HSRM). We only consider initiatives implemented outside of clinical settings where COVID-19 patients are treated, and therefore exclude workplace provisions such as availability of personal protective equipment, working time limits or mandatory rest periods. Results We show that countries have implemented a range of measures, ranging from mental health and well-being support initiatives, to providing bonuses and temporary salary increases. Practical measures such as childcare provision and free transport and accommodation have also been implemented to ensure health workers can get to their workplace and have their children looked after. Other initiatives such as offering continuing professional development credits for knowledge learnt during the crisis were also offered in some countries, albeit less frequently. Conclusions While a large number of initiatives have been introduced, often as ad-hoc measures, their effectiveness in helping staff is unknown in most countries. The effectiveness of these initiatives should be evaluated to inform future crisis responses and strategies for health workforce development.

5.
Eurohealth ; 26(2):40-44, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-958751

ABSTRACT

Contact tracing is an essential tool to support the transition back to normal life during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article explores how 31 countries operate contact tracing, using data extracted from the COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor (HSRM). Two main approaches emerge: centralised (led by one national agency) and decentralised (at regional/district level). In most cases, trained staff conduct phone interviews, and many countries have moved to strengthen the capacity of tracing teams. Further, contact tracing apps are being developed and implemented, although some difficulties related to privacy concerns have arisen, necessitating more transparency on how data are collected.

6.
Eurohealth ; 26(2):58-62, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-942068

ABSTRACT

Health workers have been at the forefront of treating and caring for patients with COVID-19. They were often under immense pressure to care for severely ill patients with a new disease, under strict hygiene conditions and with lockdown measures creating practical barriers to working. In this article we consider measures that countries have put in place to support health workers and enable them to do their job. We show that countries have implemented a range of measures, from mental health support, financial bonuses and practical support such as free accommodation and transport. The effectiveness of these initiatives should be evaluated to inform future crisis responses and strategies for health workforce development.

7.
Eurohealth ; 26(2):51-57, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-942067

ABSTRACT

Finding ways to increase the surge capacity and flexibility of the health workforce has been fundamental to delivering an effective COVID-19 response. This article explores the strategies that 44 countries in Europe plus Canada have taken to maintain and increase the availability of health workers using data from the COVID-19 Health System and Response Monitor. We show that all countries have used a variety of strategies to repurpose and mobilise the existing health workforce, while some have also augmented capacity by utilising foreign-trained or previously retired or inactive health professionals, medical and nursing students and volunteers.

8.
Eurohealth ; 26(2):68-72, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-942065

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals face the concurrent challenges of maintaining routine services while attending to COVID-19 patients. This article shares approaches taken in six countries to resume hospital care after the first wave of the pandemic by surveying country experts and using data extracted from the COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor (HSRM). Four strategies were observed in all six countries: prioritisation or rationing of treatments, converting clinical spaces to separate patients, using virtual treatments, and implementing COVID-19 free hospitals or floors. Clear guidance about how to prioritise activities would support hospitals in the next phases of the pandemic.

9.
Eurohealth ; 26(2):83-87, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-942063

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has affected the incomes of some health professionals by reducing demand for care and increasing expenditures for treatment preparedness. In a survey of 14 European countries, we found that most countries have incentivised substitutive e-health services to avoid loss of income. Health professionals have also received financial compensation for loss of income either through initiatives specifically designed for the health sector or general self-employment schemes, and have either been reimbursed for extra COVID-19-related expenditures such as personal protective equipment (PPE) or had these provided in kind. Compensation is generally funded from health budgets, complemented by emergency funding from government revenue.

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