St George’s University Hospital looks after over 9,000 dedicated staff caring for patients around the clock and is the largest healthcare provider in Southwest London. Serving a population of 1.3million people with many services, and the trust also provides care for patients as part of a larger catchment area.
In order to support the growing needs of the patients and providing staff with the correct support and work environment, St George’s Hospital’s Quality and Safety Strategy (2019-2024) focusses on delivering outstanding care, every time.
This strategy is derived from minimising avoidable harm, improving outcome for patients; providing excellent patient experiences; improving staff experiences; ensuring patients have equitable access and quality of services and importantly, a culture where governance of quality, safety and learning is embedded across the organisation.
St George’s Hospital’s internal departments such as Estates, Facilities, Capital Projects and Medical Engineering utilise the services of numerous contractors on site every day. As a result, the internal teams responsible were finding the increase in numbers difficult to manage with their existing processes
- Construction workers
- Cleaning Services
- Facilities Management
- Mechanical & Electrical (MEP) Contractors
The biggest challenge was managing a paper system that followed a triplicate process that was manually written. Visibility of who was on site and what they were there to do proved difficult and time consuming to ascertain. It also meant there was no simple or quick way of determining retrospectively who had been on site and what services they had provided. In addition, St George’s Hospital were very aware that different disciplines also needed to avoid simultaneous work.
With a focus on ensuring safety on site for staff, contractors and ultimately patients, St George’s Hospital sought to find a system that would provide them the capabilities to expertly manage and govern the activities conducted by 3rd parties on site.
With a dedicated Permit-To-Work solution, St George’s Hospital have created a portfolio of contractors, a system that is robust, automated to the parameters they require, and commonly adhered to whilst also maintaining vigilance for avoiding harm on site.
“Data input is so simple, with a straight-forward interface we can now enter a new company with ease and their permit submissions are easily managed under that company”.
With the ability to retrospectively review and manage all permits submitted, Health & Safety teams can conduct audits with ease and gather insights. This in turn helps protect workers on site and the hospital to ensure all safety standards are being met.
“The beauty of the system is how instantly you can review permits. If a person is seen on site, and they are questioned about what they are there to do, and they haven’t got an issued permit, they are removed from site. This protects us and them”.
Each internal department manages their own contractors, and with a single Permit-To-Work solution, contractors are easily identifiable and managed. This includes making sure that contractors have the right insurances, Risk Assessments & Method Statements (RAMs) and qualifications to be on site doing the job they are tasked to complete.
“If a company doesn’t have the right information or submissions then no permit can be issued, and it helps us liaise back with the contractor to make sure they have all the right information submitted”.
St George’s Hospital’s use of their Permit-to-Work solution has seen a considerable decrease in the potential risk of harm to staff, contractors and patients. With the new solution in place, increased safety and productivity means time can be spent on managing the process.
Teams have been able to redirect time spent completing numerous paper forms to more value-added tasks, ultimately contributing directly to increased health and safety on site.
“With the support of Alcumus, we can say that we are contributing to a more sustainable way of working”
Next Steps > Introducing Sypol
With the success of Permit-To-Work at St George’s Hospital, they are now in the process of implementing their use of Sypol, a COSHH Management Solution.
“The majority of our contractors are using chemicals, from the window cleaners through to construction workers. We need to make sure that hazardous chemicals are not interacting and having an adverse effect on the environment and the rest of the hospital.”
Similarly with their use of paper processes for their management of site workers, COSHH records have historically been managed in the same way. Therefore, St George’s Hospital sought to mirror the management success of their Permit-to-Work solution to ensure that they were adhering to their high standard of quality and risk avoidance.
“With a COSHH management solution, we will be able to expertly manage and increase the prevention harm to staff, contractors and patients”.
Working alongside their use of Permit-To-Work, St George’s Hospital with the use of Sypol, COSHH management, will have a more holistic view of who is on site, what works are being carried out and what chemicals are being used.
“As with the introduction of anything new to a well-established organisation such as St George’s, the time we have taken to correctly implement our Permit-To-Work solution has been a testament to the internal teams that use the system. We have been able to increase staff efficiencies; increase visibility of who is on site, when, and what for; as well as improve the standards of working for staff and contractors and reducing the overall risk of harm to anyone that enters St George’s Hospital”