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Multi-disciplinary team working in locality-based teams through COVID-19


Pamela Milliken

Aberdeenshire Health And Social Care Partnership, Scotland, GB
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Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) approach to integration has primarily been one with multi-disciplinary working at its core. Early in our integration journey we focused on developing co-located teams: our well-established locality-based model, with a range of professions, including care managers, home care coordinators, physiotherapists, community nurses and occupational therapists, based in locations to respond to the needs of communities and to benefit patients / service users, has senior leadership oversight. It is also important to recognise the positive collaborative relationships we have with our partner organisations, NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Council.

From the very beginning of the pandemic our multi-disciplinary approach facilitated our response to the unprecedented challenges faced during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included daily cross-service huddles across all services, including colleagues from the third and independent sectors, and monitored the response, providing support as needed.

Our location managers and team managers took a lead role in ensuring teams had adequate support and on-call rotas, and weekend working patterns were established to ensure all HSCP services had support as issues arose, ensuring extra support was provided to out-of-hours services experiencing an increase in demand for their services during weekends.

Working in a truly integrated manner enabled AHSCP to take a flexible approach to meeting both community as well as individual needs throughout the pandemic. This involved a range of approaches to enable continuous service delivery, including;

•Flexibility in redeploying staff from one service role to another to benefit patients and service users, and to ensure consistency of care in extremely challenging circumstances.

•Working collaboratively across health and social care professions to monitor, assess and respond to people’s needs while minimising unnecessary contact.

•Enabling leadership at all levels, with continuous focus on the best experience possible for people, while ensuring the health and social care system remained responsive and available.

In subsequent discussions with our teams this multi-disciplinary approach was a significant theme in supporting them to get through the first wave of the pandemic.

On the whole AHSCP was able to maintain provision of health and social care services across Aberdeenshire within the pandemic restrictions, and respond in a flexible manner with teams pulling together to support one another, regardless of partner organisation or profession.

It is likely that had AHSCP experienced the pandemic prior to the establishment of our locality-based model, responding to the needs of people in our localities would have proved much more challenging, as establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships would have been difficult especially with restrictions, including minimal face-to-face contact.

We have found locality based working to be an achievable approach; flexibility has been key. Relationships continue to be strong across our services and teams and they pull together to support one another, which continues to enable us to provide support to people in Aberdeenshire during the recovery from COVID-19 and subsequent COVID-19 waves.


How to Cite: Milliken P. Multi-disciplinary team working in locality-based teams through COVID-19. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):357. DOI:
Published on 04 Nov 2022.


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