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Logical logistics for healthcare

It is well-known that the health service has been asked to save £20bn by 2015 to meet future challenges such as an ageing population and the rising costs of drugs and treatments. In October 2012, BBC Health reported on how the NHS could be facing its most challenging period since it was created in 1948. Despite various arguments, about whether the changes are for the best or worse, two things are for certain: Trusts need to save money and, more importantly, the patient must come first.

A reliable patient transport service (PTS) can make a significant difference to patient care and help Trusts meet performance KPIs. When the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHT) needed a patient transport service (PTS) to meet the growing demand of beds, ERS Medical worked with them to understand their operations and what was needed. Management of beds is often critical for a Trust as it handles the patient-to-bed ratio whilst maintaining essential standards of care.

Demand for beds at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHT) is a round-the-clock operation and managing those beds and the discharge of patients is vital to keep the system flowing smoothly. We deliver PTS every day of the year. As in any busy hospital, early evenings are a critical time when it comes to pressure on beds, as GP referrals arrive and Accident and Emergency assessments mount. So, managing discharges and providing essential PTS is a priority.

MCHT’s clinical site managers manage the “flow” of patients through the hospital with patient discharges being key delivery of standards in the Emergency Department. To facilitate discharges and to keep the patient flow moving they depend on the specialist patient transport service (PTS) provided by ERS Medical. Mark Wilde, Deputy Director of Performance and Quality at MCHT said, “ERS Medical has brought forward their daily start time to give greatest capacity when we are at our busiest. The Trust also calls on ERS Medical for ad-hoc transfers and discharges outside the geographic area or when demand exceeds scheduled capacity.”

Green fleet and vehicle intelligence

As a company we realise the importance of reducing carbon emissions and use sophisticated routing software that allows a review of routes and miles. In the situation of an ad-hoc booking by a Trust, we send the closest vehicle to the customer, which further reduces the mileage driven. Besides, we’ve invested in Eco-vans and conduct driver assessment and training, which brings in the principles of driving to save CO2.

ERS Medical utlises advanced vehicle intelligence and monitoring to plan optimised routes that result in less fuel consumption. A booking system enables direct liaison between ERS Medical and the MCHT’s transport co-ordinator to ensure that clinical priorities are met. As a result, ERS Medical has met 99 percent of patient discharge targets for the Trust.

The PTS solution also allows ERS Medical to get to the patient faster and respond quickly to emergency situations – After all, the ultimate goal in all of this.