KENT COMMUNITY Health NHS Foundation Trust has become the first UK National Health Service provider to adopt CriticalArc’s SafeZone technology for lone worker protection, staff safety, mass and targeted communications and emergency response co-ordination.
SafeZone was acquired through the UK Government Cloud 12 Framework and is being delivered in partnership with Chubb UK. The service will assist in providing rapid emergency assistance for the NHS Trust’s 5,000-plus members of staff – including lone workers operational in the community – with specialist help available regardless of the user’s location.
In practice, the technology precisely locates checked-in users and enables Control Room operators to co-ordinate faster responses, for example, by directing all relevant responders to the scene of an accident.
As well as improving personal safety for thousands of healthcare workers across Kent, senior managers believe the technology will deliver far-reaching efficiency benefits that could serve as a model for other NHS Trusts to follow. For example, SafeZone will improve workforce management, communication and co-ordination between local care teams and their team leaders.
The technology allows the NHS Trust to set-up any number of user groups in specialist categories such that alerts can be directed to the most appropriate manager, depending on whether the staff member is asking for routine advice, reporting a non-urgent problem using the ‘See it? Say it!’ feature in the SafeZone app or calling for emergency response. This will allow more efficient and flexible co-ordination of care delivery.
The technology is also expected to lead to more accurate recording of episodes of aggression perpetrated against members staff and also reporting of Health and Safety issues given that incidents can now be escalated directly to the security team for recording and provision of advice and guidance with additional support from clinical line managers. Managers have commented that this will help streamline reporting processes and make it more likely that staff will report problems.
Accurate pictures of risk
Wayne Sherratt, head of security at the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, stated: “This will give us a more accurate picture of risk and free-up our clinical teams to focus on delivering patient care, while the Security Department can intervene more effectively to keep people safe.”
Chubb’s 24/7 Control Room operation will ensure seamless monitoring and support for the healthcare teams at night, maintaining uninterrupted response even when the NHS Trust’s security team members are not immediately available. Chubb’s controllers will provide advice for staff requesting help and contact the police as and when needed.
Sherratt added: “Chubb has demonstrated a flexible and supportive approach towards our particular needs”.
The SafeZone solution will replace more traditional lone worker technologies that were previously locally managed, creating siloed systems. With NHS providers under continual financial pressure, Sherrat fervently hopes that the new service will deliver significant savings by providing a single platform centralised solution for the whole trust.
Further savings will be generated by SafeZone functions including ‘tip reporting’, which will make it easy for staff to send early notifications highlighting issues (which could include anything from broken equipment to a liquids spill on the stairwell that may cause an accident).
Safety and well-being
SafeZone is already being used by over 45% of universities here in the UK to improve safeguarding for students and staff, while many of its capabilities will be every bit as transformative for the healthcare sector.
Darren Chalmers-Stevens, CriticalArc’s chief operating officer, explained: “CriticalArc is now helping to provide the best 24/7 protection for nurses, medical teams and care staff across Kent. As the first NHS provider to adopt SafeZone, the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust is demonstrating its determination to make staff safety and well-being top priorities, while at the same time unlocking significant new benefits in terms of staff retention, efficiency of operations and value for money.”
Chalmers-Stevens concluded: “SafeZone makes it easy for organisations to connect with their people, whether they are based remotely, lone working in the community, travelling on business or present at a given site.”
*Further information on CriticalArc and SafeZone is available online at www.criticalarc.com
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