Digital support for non-clinical staff to promote the use of virtual consultations

Catherine Quarrell, Service Development Manager; Charles Patterson, Digital Coordinator

Powys Teaching Health Board


Administrative staff are often the invisible heroes in health care. This project aims to enhance engagement, motivation and confidence, to encourage staff to promote use of digital technologies and virtual consultations.

The NHS in Wales has had to rapidly adapt and change service provision to sustain health care and Non-Clinical staff have been expected to embrace this change during a relatively short period of time and often with little support or engagement.

The project will empower administrators to choose virtual consultations as an alternative to more traditional methods of delivery such as face to face and telephone consultations.

Project Aims

Two women wearing masks; one sitting, one standing


Changing practices that are embedded in the way people work takes time. The project team has overcome these challenges through a series of structured meetings and alternative methods for obtaining valuable feedback from colleagues, that contributed to a review of current administrative practices and a shared passion to achieve outcomes that would benefit both staff and individuals accessing the service.

Woman with headphones using computer

Remaining positive and being enthusiastic about the work that we are doing has also enabled us to remain motivated during the more difficult times.

Key Outcomes

Developing a standardised approach through group and 1:1 coaching sessions, information sharing and development of shared user resources to ensure more efficient processes are implemented which will result in increased uptake of virtual consultations versus more traditional methods.

Woman with headphones using computer

To ensure that we keep Person Centred Design at the forefront of the process, the service’s Experience Panel and clinical and non-clinical members of the team will be involved at all stages of the process through regular updates and group feedback sessions.


“The additional training makes me feel more confident when I’m helping people access a consultation online.”

Member of the Pain and Fatigue Management Service Administration Team

“I had no idea how to use Teams for a video meeting, it’s really quite easy.”

Pain and Fatigue Management Service user

“In the early days I found it really difficult persuading people to join an online programme. The support we’ve had has now made this much easier.”

Member of the Pain and Fatigue Management Service Administration Team

“I felt a real buzz when I helped a lady get in to her consultation using her iPhone.”

Member of the Pain and Fatigue Management Service Administration Team

“Once I was shown how to access the meeting, it was easy to take part and I was really pleased with the outcome of the programme session.”

Invest in Your Health participant

“I’ve been struggling with pain for some time now and my heart sank when COVID-19 hit as I thought all my support was going to dry up. The team helped me use my tablet to get in to meetings with my consultant and I was really pleased that I could continue to attend the programme meetings online.”

Living Well with Pain and Fatigue participant

Next Steps

The programme continues to adapt to current workforce issues, utilising the skills and knowledge of our existing team to train and develop the new recruits and to take what we have learned through the project and share this with the wider health board.

A partnership is currently being established with Powys Association of Volunteer Organisations (PAVO) to develop links with their newly appointed digital support team. This in turn will help to improve digital literacy and reduce isolation and loneliness for patients, particularly during these times.

As a result of this project, Powys Teaching Health Board has provided twelve months funding to roll out the project to services across the Health Board.

Our Exemplar Experience

The experience has reinforced my belief in the health boards desire for change. Being able to connect more broadly with health and social care professionals has added depth to understanding of challenges, including the need to rebuild communities post-Covid-19.