News round-up: Estates and facilities management

MANAGEMENT: Award for Torbay team

MANAGERS at Torbay Hospital have scooped a national award for bringing a leaner approach to healthcare efficiency and cost savings. The estates and facilities management (EFM) team was named winner of the Efficiency in Estates Management category at the inaugural HSJ Efficiency Awards held recently in London. Paul Boocock, director of estates and facilities management at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “Lean thinking is based on the idea that all work is a process which contains many steps and that by sitting down and listing them, working out who does what and how long it takes, we can identify ways that things could be undertaken a quicker, efficient or smarter way. We worked with staff across four areas of the department - repairs, portering, patient transport and medical electronics - teaching them some techniques to help them identify ways to improve systems and processes which happen on a regular basis and how they could be changed to remove waste or perhaps even eliminate it. When staff came up with solutions we would support them to put these into practice. Staff have said that it has given them better job satisfaction and for patients it means we are able to offer better care and best value for money.” Shortlisted in the EFM category were NHS Hull for maximising the functionality and utilisation of its primary care estates; and South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust for WorkSmart, an initiative using flexible working to achieve cost savings.

CATERING: Protecting patients

NURSES and midwives at Basildon University Hospital have gone on a ‘nutrition mission’ in a bid to improve patient care. All patients now have their nutritional needs assessed within 24 hours of admission, with an individual care plan setting out their requirements and details of any assistance needed. Documents are also being colour-coded to allow nursing staff to quickly understand patients’ needs, and protected mealtimes have been launched, which mean staff supervising dining are free from interruptions. Diane Sarkar, director of nursing, said: “I want patients and their families and carers to feel reassured that they know precisely what to expect when they come in to hospital. They should expect that nursing staff understand their individual nutritional needs and that they are recording and monitoring it throughout their stay.” Andrea Cartwright, senior nutrition nurse specialist, added: “Nutrition is not only integral to a patient’s recovery for their primary diagnosis, but is known to have an impact on other areas of focus throughout healthcare, such as pressure sores, falls and urinary tract infections. The other reason nutrition must be at the heart of patient care is around dignity. Providing patients who need extra help with specialist equipment, to maintain their independence is such a simple thing to do, but can have a huge impact on a patient’s outlook.”

SECURITY: Guards kitted out with cameras

SECURITY guards working for the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will wear body-mounted video cameras in a bid to combat incidents of violence and aggression. The high-tech recording devices will be worn by fully-trained security officers and can be activated if an incident of violence and disorder occurs. Sue Bolt, security manager at the trust, said: “Other London hospitals have seen a dramatic reduction in violent incidents since introducing the cameras. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in particular reported a 60% reduction in verbal abuse and 29% fewer recorded incidents of aggression following the introduction of body cameras. We are very hopeful that the same will be found here. Our patients and staff should not be subjected to assaults, whether it’s verbal or physical, and we hope this new introduction will mean that an aggressive situation can be calmed down before it escalates any further.”

UTILITIES: Gas leak closes theatres

PARTS of Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester were evacuated and operations cancelled this week following a gas leak. The maternity, breast surgery and gynaecology units in Florence Portal House and the NHS treatment centre in the Burrell Wing were closed while the leak was located and repaired, with ambulances and women in labour being directed to other hospitals. Dr Chris Gordon, chief executive of Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It has been a very long time since we have had anything like this and I don't remember in the 15 years that I have worked in this hospital having such a major internal incident.”

HOTEL SERVICES: Doncaster trust to outsource laundry service

Deciding to outsource any service is difficult, let alone one that staff feel passionately about

DONCASTER and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has decided to outsource its laundry service in a bid to save almost £500,000 a year. No redundancies are expected, as the trust hopes to redeploy the 28 staff affected by the move. Ron Calvert, the trust’s chief executive, said: “Deciding to outsource any service is difficult, let alone one that staff feel passionately about. But the laundry on the Doncaster Royal Infirmary site needs investment of £2.2m to bring it up to 21st-century standards. We can only spend the money once so we either invest in the laundry or in direct patient care. The board decided that our core business is providing health services, so we would let a laundry specialist provide our laundry and linen service.”

CATERING: Improvements at Yeovil hospital

NEW menus are being introduced at Yeovil District Hospital. A local food sourcing project has been launched which will lead to improvements in the sourcing of ingredients and the overall quality of food served to staff, visitors and patients. The changes follow a survey, which highlighted a number of areas for improvement. Now patients will be able to choose from homemade sandwiches, locally-baked bread, homemade soups and locally-sourced ice cream. Other changes to come include the introduction of a salad bar and a new ‘bake and bite’ facility serving pies and pasties. Hospital spokesman, Sue McInnes, said: “Buying local benefits patients, the hospital and local suppliers. This is an excellent example of governors working with staff for the good of the whole community. We very much appreciate all the hard work staff have put in to making these improvements.”

LANDSCAPING: Infected trees given a touch of TLC

ELEGANT horse chestnut trees that line the main drive to the 1937 building at Kent and Canterbury Hospital received some special attention last week. The trees are suffering from bleeding canker, a serious infection that stops them using their vascular system and has left many fighting for survival. To combat the condition, Andrew Bussey and his team of arboricultural specialists were drafted in to inject the trees with a specially-formulated serum derived from garlic. A series of holes were drilled into each infected tree and the Allicin serum was infused into them using a low pressure system. The team will continue to monitor the trees throughout the year.

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