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Helping the NHS communicate with COVID-19 sufferers



  • Health
  • Public


  • Experience Elevation

Award-winning Digital communications during Covid-19


We helped the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) communicate with Covid-19 sufferers, by delivering the NHS COVID-19 Text Messaging Service to support those self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms.

The ultimate aim of this project was to point people to the NHS 111 online service to provide accurate and safe information and to triage people safely without creating extra pressure to frontline care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the NHS and government needed to respond to the quickly accelerating situation, we delivered a solution in just over a week.

Creativity and innovation

In just 10 days, Valtech worked tirelessly with NHS Digital, NHS Business Services Authority, NHS 111 and NHS X to develop and deliver the NHS COVID-19 text messaging service. This service was simple in its ambition but complex in its multi-agency execution, and provided powerful data to help drive both operational and clinical decisions. At launch, tens of thousands of people signed up for updates.

People staying at home suffering with suspected COVID-19 symptoms were provided with regular check-ins from the new NHS text messaging service. Daily texts are sent by the NHS to new patients who register their Covid-19 symptoms and contact details with the 111 online service. The messages check how people are and help them get through the isolation period.


Reducing pressure on front-line services 

This partnership won Gold in the ‘Best Digital Communication During COVID-19’ category at the Digital Impact Awards 2020.

The service provides both clinical and operational benefits. Clinically, it serves two key roles:

Firstly, it acts at a population level to encourage those who have self-diagnosed to remain self-isolated and reduce the spread of the infection.

Secondly, the service steers people towards the appropriate urgent and emergency care they need while keeping those who don’t need urgent care away from front line services.

Scalable Legacy

What really stood out was the pace at which this cloud-based government platform was composed. In testing, the service scaled seamlessly and automatically to cope with volumes of over 1.3 million messages sent per day.

As we look to a post-COVID 19 future, we hope that the innovation driven by this crisis has a lasting and positive legacy for the pace and quality of digital delivery across government and beyond.

Former Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

I know all too well that experiencing symptoms can be worrying, but for those living on their own it will be even more so. Alongside other measures, this new daily text service will reassure our most vulnerable that they are not alone, and also to help them manage their symptoms.

Technology, combined with our heroic staff on the frontline, have played a huge role in battling this virus and I encourage everyone to use this new service.


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