Innovation and inspiration - how providers are responding to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Published: 4 June 2020 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

We have published more than 300 examples from the front line.

Health and care providers from all sectors have shared examples with us showing how they have innovated and adapted working practices to respond to the challenges of dealing with coronavirus (COVID-19).

These short examples, from small home care agencies to large acute hospitals, are also a celebration of the dedication and resourcefulness of health and care providers and staff.

CQC Chief Executive Ian Trenholm said:

“These examples illustrate the tremendous resilience and imagination of health and care providers and their teams. They demonstrate the determination to think differently to meet the needs of people who use services and keep people safe in a time of crisis.

“We are sharing these so providers can quickly learn from each other about what they can do now and consider whether innovations brought about by a crisis could help shape services in the future”.

Examples include:

  • GP Dr Rachel Buckley carried out a virtual ward round to two care homes by video call. She saw every patient in the homes registered on the practice list. She then telephoned the next of kin for each patient to again reassure them that their loved ones were being supported.
  • St Richard’s Hospice is providing bereavement training virtually to support other organisations.
  • Care at Home (Wearside) has been using technology to take baseline observations of its customers. This has helped to identify early signs of infection and to monitor temperatures and vital signs. This has helped to save on unnecessary hospital admissions.
  • “We are a learning disability service for 13 men with learning disabilities – our chaps like to enjoy a pint in our local pub but obviously cannot at the moment. We contacted our local pub and it has kindly donated items and we have created our own pub whilst observing social distancing guidelines!” - Conifer Lodge (Huntercombe Group)
  • Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust introduced the new role of Family Liaison Officer to support patients, their families and loved ones, and ward/ departmental teams.
  • Rosegrove Surgery in Burnley has pledged that each member of staff will ring one vulnerable patient every day during the pandemic just for a chat.
  • South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust set up 24/7 mental health emergency departments for patients in crisis during the outbreak.

Lisa Lenton, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance said:

"These examples really emphasise the innovation that this sector has developed, embraced and implemented during this crisis. This innovation starts with people - it is wonderful to read the way different approaches to working have ensured families can stay in touch with their loved ones, that the health and wellbeing of people that use services continues to be at the heart of support delivery and technology is revolutionising the way we work. This is a celebration of how providers have faced this unprecedented challenge. "

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“The response to COVID-19 has been truly remarkable. NHS and care organisations have achieved in days and weeks what in past might have taken months and years. 

“The key will be to lock in those changes, chart a new course, and learn from the best.

“Our members are clear – this is not so much about recovery as it is about reset. We need to create a ‘new normal’, which will usher in faster change and greater integration of services at scale that can meet patient and user needs. And that is why the Confederation has launched NHS Reset, our campaign to help shape the health and care system as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"The NHS is managing the biggest challenge of its lifetime and has pulled out all the stops to ensure that patients get the care they need in the face of the pandemic.

“CQC’s resource published today showcases many examples of how the health and care sector have innovated and changed how they work over the past few weeks.

“We want to pay tribute to NHS staff who are working relentlessly to adapt and innovate to ensure that all patients that need NHS help can get it.”

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“GP’s and their teams have responded remarkably to the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly adapting their ways of working to ensure that patients can continue to access the care they require in the safest way possible.

“As well as delivering care remotely, where possible, in instances where face to face appointments have been necessary, practices have taken pragmatic and innovative measures to ensure patient safety. GPs have also adopted new roles and responsibilities, collaborating with colleagues across the health service, such as in NHS 111 and community COVID-19 hubs, to ensure that all patients’ needs are prioritised, whether related to COVID-19 or not.”

“It’s great to see examples of this recognised in this report.”

Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, said:

“It is remarkable to see how quickly new services and approaches have been implemented amidst these incredibly challenging circumstances. Our members have set up mental health EDs within days and opened nationwide support lines a year ahead of the original deadline, to name just some of their achievements.

“Multi-sector provision has been key: remote support has been ramped up in partnership with digital providers and we have seen VCS organisations delivering vital support for children and young people.

“As we move beyond the current emergency it is crucial that we maintain the momentum of the past few weeks; despite the very real hardships our sector has once again proven its unique ability to adapt and innovate and we must continue to take this forward.”

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said:

“I am incredibly proud of how independent healthcare providers and their staff have really stepped up in responding to the challenges brought on by COVID-19, going above and beyond to ensure patients can get the care they need. These stories published today showcase independent sector and NHS partnerships at their best, with new and flexible ways of working emerging during this difficult time which will benefit patients both now and long into the future.”

Read the case studies

The case studies will be updated regularly. See the Innovation and good practice in responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) case studies at

These examples illustrate the tremendous resilience and imagination of health and care providers and their teams. They demonstrate the determination to think differently to meet the needs of people who use services and keep people safe in a time of crisis.

Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive