Case Study:

NHS Wales COVID Response

A trusted partner, at a time of crisis


In March 2020, NHS Wales enlisted the expertise of ICST to establish standardised clinical practices for treating COVID-19 across the country. Given the limited evidence on managing the pandemic, it was crucial to create a flexible, nationwide approach that could adapt to evolving circumstances and new findings.

The solution needed to encompass various stages of care, from initial assessment to intensive care unit (ITU) treatment and palliative care, and to be concise, rooted in fundamental principles, and accessible to healthcare staff via mobile devices or computers.

Clinical leads from across Wales were engaged to promote its adoption and facilitate implementation. The Welsh Government’s Chief Medical Officer endorsed the guideline by encouraging its use in all health boards through correspondence with Chief Operating Officers in late March 2020.


COVID Response

The toolkit provides digital support for both patients and practitioners, promoting practices and behaviour change principles that result in improved outcomes and ultimately reduce the burden on the health system.

Implementation 1:

Supporting hospital healthcare teams–through implementing the dynamic NHS Wales COVID-19 Hospital Guideline.

Implementation 2:

Supporting primary care – through implementing the dynamic NHS Wales COVID-19 primary care Guideline and NHS Wales Long COVID Guideline.

Implementation 3:

Supporting the public – through implementing the NHS Wales COVID Recovery App.

Implementation 4:

Supporting decision-makers–through implementing the NHS Wales COVID audits.

By using emergency implementation science and individual behavioural science methodologies, the COVID response ensured reach and adoption whilst achieving outcomes. This approach ensures seamless system installation without the need for additional resources or staffing. By practically supporting existing services, rather than imposing fundamental change, the toolkit minimises resistance, ensures sustainability, and achieves population-level reach and scalability.

Learn More About:

COVID Recovery Toolkit

A strategy to improve the standards of respiratory care across a health system, ensuring that all patients receive high-value care, and all healthcare professionals understand how to optimise the care for their patients.


COVID Response

From frontline teams managing patients presenting with acute COVID, to practitioners supporting recovery and return to normal services, and people living with long-term COVID, there were solutions created for everyone.

Reduced mortality rates

Implementation of the programme has coincided with Wales having the lowest mortality rates from COVID during the first wave of the pandemic compared to England.

Data informing service provision

Data outputs from these innovations (e.g. symptom prevalence), have informed service provision across Wales.

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