On Tuesday 8 June, the Intensive Care Society announced that 33n, Brunel University and Health Education England won the Innovation Award for their contribution to the intensive care profession through the COVID-19 ICU Remote Learning Course (CIRLC).

The judges commended CIRLC for its positive impact on patients, utilisation of a multi-professional partnership and ability to rapidly upskill NHS staff with minimal disruption to existing ICU staff.

The winning project provides rapid ICU training for non-ICU staff being redeployed during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. The course, which was devised in just one week, prepared over 2,500 NHS staff for redeployment to intensive care units in close to 200 organisations. Over 100 critical care specialists, many of whom were shielding due to COVID-19, were able to give their time and expertise as tutors. The one-day course removed the local training burden, freed up ICU staff to care for critically ill patients and gave healthcare workers across the country greater confidence and skill to provide care where it was most needed.

In the first wave of COVID-19, CIRLC offered the course free of charge to NHS trusts with the course creators, 33n and Brunel University, taking no financial gains with tutors recruited on a volunteer basis.

CIRLC was conceived by a small group of critical care clinicians, led by Dr Eve Corner, Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Brunel University London, and Dr Alexandra Monkhouse, Anaesthetic Registrar at Barts Health NHS Trust and a director of 33n, a company of NHS clinicians and data scientists.

Said Dr Eve Corner; 

“We are delighted to receive this innovation award in recognition for our collaborative work in the development of CIRLC. This was a huge team effort bringing together the unique skills of the private sector, NHS staff and higher education to deliver training to over 2,500 redeployed staff. The innovative thinking, dedication and altruism of those involved is a shining example of what can be achieved in a short time frame with the right people in the right room working collaboratively.”

Said Dr Alex Monkhouse;

“Thank you to everyone that contributed towards CIRLC’s success. The course has allowed us to strengthen partnerships and recognise that success was optimised by the diversity of the multi-professional team. We are pleased to be continuing this partnership and working with the Intensive Care Society to support GPs with patients with post intensive care syndrome.”

CIRLC’s rapid transition from concept to delivery was made possible through the partnership with NHS Health Education England.

Said Kirstie Baxter, Head of Workforce Transformation at NHS Health Education England (HEE); 

“HEE has been keen to play its part in rapid training of front-line staff in response to the COVID pandemic. The team at 33n and Brunel University was able to repurpose their knowledge and use their transformational skills to develop a national multidisciplinary training programme to respond quickly to the up-skilling need, promoting confidence and competence in what was an unprecedented situation – an example of workforce agility at its best.”

CIRLC remains a relevant and highly accessible resource and is available to all trusts when needed.