As fall moves ever closer to winter, and brightly colored leaves give way to snowflakes, the strain on the already overstretched NHS is one thing that will probably not change. For example, last winter we were faced with yet another ‘bed-blocking’ crisis since bed occupancy was dangerously high at about 99% of capacity. Not only does this obviously impact patient experience and outcomes, but it also puts significant strain on nurses―both physically and mentally―as they spend hours each week roaming wards in search of free beds.
That stress will continue this winter if things remain the same and the NHS continues to rely on highly skilled and trained nurses searching for beds, instead of spending time on what they were trained to do—deliver outstanding care. It’s plain to see how this affects staff morale, and is a significant contributor to stress-related absence―there are currently 41,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS in England and applications to study nursing have fallen by a third since 2016.
The question is why is this manual bed management model still in place when there are digital solutions that use real-time measurements and interventions to not only remove the burden from nursing teams but also improve patient care and save the NHS money?
NHS Trusts spend between £2 million and £7 million adding capacity every year and open 3,500-4,000 escalation beds over winter to accommodate additional demand. Yet beds are still being left ‘idle’ for up to eight hours between patients, due to poor bed management and information being shared via frantic telephone calls and hallway meetings between nurses. The ramifications for patients are also serious―including canceled surgeries and increased morbidity.
The solution to these challenges is visibility to bed status and the ability to follow the path of a patient. Automated processes―which begin as soon as the patient is admitted or discharged [along with the use of RFID / RTLS badges for real-time location of patients, staff, assets] ―provide automatic and accurate information to bed management and dedicated cleaning and portering teams. This gives departments visibility across the entire bed estate, which drives improvements for the whole healthcare ecosystem.
Most importantly, by automating processes the constant pressure and disruption created by bed managers roaming the corridors or phone calls quizzing nurses about potential empty beds is eliminated, as well as daily interruptions during staff meetings to discuss bed status. And with this additional time, caregivers can be caregivers and live the mission to ensure that no one will ever have to wait for the care they need.
Neil Griffiths is an experienced healthcare executive, bringing more than 20 years of public and private sector experience to TeleTracking’s UK operations. In his role as Managing Director, he is leading the UK business and is part of the global TeleTracking senior leadership team.
With his deep understanding of hospitals and experience of managing change, Neil ensures that TeleTracking’s approach and solutions are deployed in the most effective way to support long-term, sustainable impact.
Neil was the Deputy CEO and a board member at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), one of the leading acute academic hospital providers in the UK. In that capacity, he was responsible for the development of uclhfuture, the Trust’s ambitious transformation strategy that combines the creation of new operating processes and use of technology with the development of leadership and change management capabilities.
Neil was the entrepreneurial leader and a board member for the McKinsey Hospital Institute (MHI) in the UK. Neil holds an MBA from the University of Westminster and a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol.
Deb is an inspirational leader with an unrivaled track record of delivery across both primary and secondary care in the NHS. She has held senior executive positions in local government, health and housing organisations with extensive experience of working with boards.
Deb has a wealth of skills and experience in leadership, change management, coaching and mentoring and is an NHS operational transformation/turnaround specialist. Before joining TeleTracking, Deb was a Director at CPA Consulting Ltd, a successful niche consultancy providing transformation and turnaround solutions to NHS organisations. She has an impressive track record of delivering excellent results, particularly in challenged trusts.
Deb is passionate about the NHS and brings patient focus and NHS operational expertise to TeleTracking's transformation process. As Director of Client Support UK, Deb's role is to support our clients to deliver tangible operational outcomes from our technology.