Protecting patient safety and confidentiality, whilst improving spend management
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is a large acute trust, caring for a catchment population of up to 1.25m people through its two hospitals – Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust (HEY Trust) is committed to the highest standards of patient safety and care. Fundamental to this approach is harnessing the expertise and innovation of commercial partners.
The trust’s procurement and clinical teams work collaboratively to ensure that the most effective and efficient clinical products are used. In support of this,
the trust recognises the importance of relationships with its commercial partners, who frequently visit the trust.
Julie Lumb, Head of Procurement, explains, “The number of commercial visitors who visit the trust is significant and it was acknowledged that tighter and more robust controls were required to reduce any security or safety risks.
“We had occasions where commercial visitors were visiting the trust unannounced,” continues Julie.
“Commercial visitors were also frequently asking clinical staff to commit to the purchasing of goods, or submitting quotations direct to clinical staff, with no input from the procurement team. There was a potential for business to be agreed without realising the impact on existing agreements.”
Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust already had management processes in place. Commercial visitors were required to report to the supplies department, where a two-week or month pass was issued. Although this afforded a level of security and
monitoring, staff had no way of knowing who was on site or where at any one time or how often they visited within the time period.
The trust therefore decided to strengthen its commercial visitor management approach, to help fulfil its duty of care and obligation to manage risk.
How we helped
After selecting IntelliCentrics, HEY Trust first specified its policy and safety requirements for each hospital area. All commercial visitors are required to read and accept the trust’s Company Representatives Guidance, plus the Uniform and Professional Appearance Policy.
To help meet its clinical governance obligations and follow best practice, the trust set additional requirements for commercial visitors accessing higher risk areas. These range from employer liability insurance, proof of product/service competency, evidence of theatre access training, a Standard DBS background check, as well as immunisations such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis and tetanus.
The IntelliCentrics SEC³URE service now manages compliance to the trust’s safety and governance requirements, before commercial visitors arrive on site. “Transition was very easy,” says Julie. “We kept our existing protocol for commercial visitors to report to the supplies department upon arrival, and simply implemented SEC³URE to check in those visitors.”
When the commercial visitor is being checked in, the service automatically confirms their compliance status and, if compliant, a real-time I.D. badge is printed. The badge demonstrates to staff, at a glance, that the visit is authorised by HEY Trust. Upon departure, the commercial visitor checks out, completing the reporting and audit trail of their visit.
“We now know who is visiting, when and why,” explains Julie. “Commercial visitors are no longer free to visit the trust without a SEC³URE badge issued by the procurement team.” Julie adds, “The reports flag up commercial visitors who aren’t compliant and we can stop them visiting the trust until they are compliant, or at least working towards compliance.” The IntelliCentrics team help reinforce the trust’s policy and assist if required.
The IntelliCentrics service is provided at no cost to healthcare providers.
“It’s working fantastically for our trust; the SEC³URE service is smooth, efficient, transparent and consistent”, says Julie. “For any organisations considering implementing this, I’d say ‘it’s simple and easy – why wouldn’t you?’”
Julie continues, “We now have control over our patient areas. Not only do we know who is visiting and when, but the service also ensures commercial visitors agree to comply with our safety and procurement policies. It helps us to protect patient privacy and confidentiality, as well as fulfil our duty of care and obligation to manage risk.”
“Since implementing the SEC³URE service, we’ve been able to improve spend control and reduce instances of unsanctioned products and invoices,” explains Julie. “We also now comply with the NHS Procurement & Commercial Standards.” These national standards require hospitals to have policies and procedures in place to assist with the control of commercial/sales representatives on site, and hospitals need to provide evidence of a strong degree of compliance.