News round-up: Estates and facilities management

Read on for our weekly round-up of the latest developments in the healthcare estates and facilities management sector

CATERING SERVICES: Fury at hospital bread roll ban

Campaigners have hit out after it was revealed that caterers at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have been told they can't give bread rolls to patients unless they request them. The trust, which runs hospitals in Oldham, Crumpstall and Rochdale, said it had made the decision in an effort to reduce waste, claiming it was throwing away thousands of rolls every year. Insisting it was not a cost-cutting measure, a trust spokesman said: "We have not discontinued the provision of bread rolls at meal times. We provide more than 1.7 million meals a year at our hospitals and need to keep a watchful eye on any unnecessary food wastage, which was the case when bread rolls were routinely supplied. Bread rolls continue to be supplied on request." But health campaigner, Victor Hagan, said of the move: "The fact is that many patients, particularly the elderly, will be too proud to ask for these rolls on request. The hospital is taking food out of their mouths. I think the move is awful, just disgusting."

LAUNDRY SERVICES: Lanarkshire staff scoop second award

Laundry staff at NHS Lanarkshire are celebrating after receiving a second major award. West of Scotland Laundry, which is part of NHS Lanarkshire's Property and Support Services, won an Occupational Health and Safety Gold Award earlier this year and has now won a Healthy Working Lives Silver Award. Ken Corsar, chairman of NHS Lanarkshire, said: "On behalf of the Lanarkshire health board I would like to congratulate all the staff for their achievement in winning these two awards. The work the staff at the West of Scotland Laundry do is of the greatest importance in delivering a successful, modern health service. The Lanarkshire health board recognises and appreciates the important contribution of the laundry staff and we thank them for their 100% effort and hard work."

TRANSPORT: Automated portering at Walsall

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is deploying a new automated portering system in a bid to cut patient waiting times and improve productivity in patient transport services. The trust is using TeleTracking Technologies' TransportTracking solution after trials at the Royal Free Hospital in London showed it slashed waiting times by half. Deployments at hospitals in Wolverhampton and Rotherham also showed a 30% increase in productivity. Anthony Sanzo of TeleTracking Technologies said: "TeleTracking solutions reduce overcrowding, cut costs, generate revenue, fight the spread of infection, manage assets, accelerate patient transfers, and provide a wealth of data for continual operational improvement and business development. With trusts looking to do more with less in the NHS, we have seen a flurry of activity." The company currently has deals with 10 NHS trusts covering 12 UK hospitals.

WASTE MANAGEMENT: 'Unsightly' bins moved from front of hospital

'UNSIGHTLY' bins that were placed at the front entrance of a hospital in Scotland will be moved the after complaints from visitors and patients. The waste containers were repositioned to the front of Edington Cottage Hospital in Berwick by NHS Lothian to prevent large vehicles from having to cross the site. But, after objections from campaigners, who pointed out the new bin store did not have planning permission, the health board put in a retrospective application, which has now been rejected by East Lothian Council, which concluded the bins were 'prominent, obtrusive and inharmonious' and had a negative impact on patients' wellbeing. Planners said: "The bin enclosure is a prominent, obtrusive and inharmonious feature in its visual relationship with the listed building... and is harmful to the setting of the listed building. Moreover, the bin enclosure is not well integrated with its surroundings and is harmful to the character and appearance of the area." The health board has until 19 December to move the bin store. George Curley, director of facilities, said: "Following discussions, we have decided, by mutual agreement, to look at reciting the storage of the bins. Locations are now being explored."

WORKWEAR: Safety grips to help avoid falls this winter

Community staff at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are preparing for winter by investing in Yaktrax grips, which can be worn over shoes or boots to protect from slips and falls. Supplied by the Keswick Boot Company at a discounted price, the grips will be used by staff including midwives, speech and language therapists and district nurses to prevent injury in snow and icy weather conditions. Trust spokesman, Cheryl Batty, said: "Every year staff have accidents, of varying degrees of severity, in the snow and ice, which not only impacts them, but also the patients that rely on their visits." Salli Pilcher, clinical development manager, added: "We trialled the Yaktrax last year to great success. They were very effective and I believe they will be instrumental in protecting our staff from falls this winter."

ALSO IN THE NEWS:

Workwear provider, Alexandra, is helping healthcare maintenance and ancillary professionals prepare for winter with the launch of a new product range covering combat and heavyweight trousers, individual protective equipment like knee pads and outerwear to combat the winter elements Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has renewed its contract with Synergy Health to provide sterile services. The 5m deal will see the continuation of a contract that has been running for more than 10 years The Portakabin Group has launched a new range of multi-faith toilet and wash facilities that will help protect the privacy and dignity of patients in hospitals. The Portaloo Natural and Purity building solutions provide hygienic natural position and squat toilets developed in close consultation with estates and facilities managers

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