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Providing efficiencies and cost-saving courier services in Hull and East Yorkshire

In April 2015, ERS Medical began working with Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Humber NHS Foundation Trust to provide a cost effective courier service consolidating all collections from the Hull and East Yorkshire area to one provider.

Running from ERS Medical’s Hull base, the contract sees pathology specimens, mail, health records and sterile service equipment transported from 171 locations for the Trust and CCGs including two hospitals, GP surgeries, health centres and numerous clinics.

Prior to the contract commencement, ERS Medical met with representatives from both Trusts and CCGs to ascertain the requirements of the surgeries in the area to plan the routes and collections in the most efficient, cost effective way. Improving on the existing service model, ERS Medical increased the number of collections each surgery received a day as well as introducing later collection times. This allows practices to run later clinics into the day due to the regular transport collections while staying within the four hour window required to move samples from surgery to pathology. ERS Medical’s innovative approach also saw each GP surgery being supplied with specialised temperature controlled pathology bags to maximise the integrity and security of the specimens.

Throughout all ERS Medical courier contracts, sophisticated electronic data-capture software and track and trace systems mean that peace of mind and integrity is guaranteed at each stage of the process. Personal digital assistant (PDA’s) devices are used by our drivers to follow the journey of each pathology bag. This innovative approach is unique to ERS Medical’s offering as the Trust was unable to obtain real time information for specimen tracking queries with previous providers. Vehicle tracking was also introduced to allow customers to call the depot for a live update on their designated job.

Dave Wilkinson, Acting Transport Manager, Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This was a major project and the transition to a new provider could have potentially caused severe disruptions to the services offered to patients throughout the Trust but thanks to the planning and professionalism of ERS Medical during implementation, when the contract went live, the few problems we incurred were minimal.

“Due to the nature of healthcare, we are constantly reviewing the services we offer and so through regular operation review meetings, and also communicating with the local ERS Medical management team, changes to schedules etc, are actioned swiftly.”

Rachael Duff, Practice Manager, The Chestnuts Surgery, East Yorkshire said: “Since ERS Medical took over the collection service we have received a second additional collection in the afternoon, this has enabled us to provide later clinics improving patient access. It also helps process results faster which has improved patient satisfaction. The ‘tracking system’ gives us added reassurance and has greatly reduced incidents of lost samples. The drivers are efficient, courteous, professional and extremely punctual, you could set your watch by them!

“We were provided with secure storage transfer bags for records transfer and temperature controlled insulated bags for sample transfer, adding to the reassurance for us and our patients. Working in partnership with ERS Medical has enabled us to enforce our policies and procedures ensuring services are delivered safely, securely and to time and that patient experience and outcomes are not compromised. A first class professional service!”