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Case Study: Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust


  • Due to the unsuitable nature of their current device, WPCT required a more practical option
  • We worked together with WPCT to provide them with a lone working solution that was perfectly suited to the needs of the team and their working environments
  • Our solution not only met with staff approval, it also provided WPCT with significant cost-savings by not having to purchase separate devices

Our Team – Dianne Hanby

Meeting Our Customers’ Needs

The one-device-fits-all strategy adopted by some in the NHS for lone workers was found to be unsuitable for their staff during trials. We worked closely with WPCT to provide a multi-solution approach that matches staff to the level of service that is right for them, which has led to much better protection for their staff.

“If you have relatives working in the NHS you would want them well protected. We have seen many threatening situations including incidents where staff have been trapped in a patient’s building and it’s clear that extra care is certainly needed in some pockets of the city. For example, one member of staff needed to visit one of these areas to see a patient and found themselves in the vicinity of a gun battle. So understandably staff are anxious. We need to provide protection just in case, as over 680 of the trust’s staff work alone within the community” says Sarah Southall, the trust’s General Manager for estate regulation and a key member of the lone worker strategy team.

Initial trials using Identicom, the ID card holder mobile telecom alarm recommended by the NHS, found it to be unsuitable for all groups. Some patients felt uncomfortable about neighbours seeing an NHS badge during visits and most staff were adamant that they did not want to have to carry an additional device amongst their host of other items. The trust also felt that those most at risk needed GPS devices that could locate them more accurately without having to rely on an audio diary being kept up to date.

Providing Real Solutions

The solution was to implement our Code5 lone worker protection service, which can be added to any type of mobile or smartphone using speed dial functionality to raise an alarm. In the case of GPS phones, our operators can pinpoint callers to within five metres. On non-GPS phones, the location is determined by the base station used to make the alarm call along with other supporting information. Through this service, our 24/7 Operators will immediately respond to emergencies or threatening situations, locate the caller and summon the police if necessary – bypassing the standard 999 service and accessing local control rooms directly for the fastest response possible.

To introduce the service to staff, briefing sessions were held where staff were provided with full training on the use of the device and the correct escalation process. The advice that we always give is to use the device frequently, even if the alert turns out to be nothing, it is better to be safe.

Sarah reported to us that staff like the idea of being protected 24/7 but needed more encouragement to use the service frequently whenever they feel at risk. “We can see who are reluctant to use the service from management reports and we can check with them what the reason is. A recent incident in which a member of staff suffered some verbal abuse was a good wake-up call to use the service. We remind staff too that it is not always the patient they have to be careful of, but it might be someone else in the house.” To keep device usage at the forefront of staff minds, we arranged regular refresher training for both management and staff which helped to increase device utilisation.

    Results That Matter

    Staff who make occasional visits are now using pooled phones with Code5 lone worker protection installed. For those more at risk, Code5 is set up on the phones that they use on a daily basis, and for employees most at risk, Code5 lone worker protection is provided on GPS mobile phones.

    When we first looked at lone worker protection, we thought we’d have to buy a device. But with Code5, we don’t have to buy a specialist device; we can use our existing mobiles, with the exception of buying GPS mobile devices for those most at risk. It means we’ve saved money and have been able to protect more staff.” Said Sarah.

    This service has now been rolled out to various teams including home visitors, psychiatric nurses, district nurses, evening visitors, physiotherapists and dentists. Our lone worker provides their team with a high level of protection and peace of mind for both staff and management.

    Code5 is a great example of a low-tech solution that we can offer without the need for an additional device or smartphone. Our advanced range of RedAlert lone worker solutions consist of a variety of individual devices and smartphone Apps that can be tailored to a wide variety of public and private sector teams. Employees who have access to these types of devices, can feel much safer and more confident within their day-to-day roles. High-risk jobs such as these are just one area where we can help to make a real difference.

    About Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust

    WPCT are one of the largest acute and community providers in the West Midlands having more than 850 beds on the New Cross site. They also have 56 rehabilitation beds at West Park Hospital and 54 beds at Cannock Chase Hospital. WPCT are the largest employer in Wolverhampton, the Trust employs more than 9,400 staff, covering more than 350 different roles.

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