"Not only do staff feel safer, it has generated comfort and safety for patients.”
Patients’ bedrooms have wall mounted panic alarms. These used to sound in every ward, causing disturbance to other patients. Now they are linked more discreetly to nurses’ handsets to ensure the fastest response.
Simon lists reliability and user-friendliness as additional features that make Ascom better than other systems.
“Staff find it easy to use, and it’s very flexible. They can easily move from inside to outside the building because of the protected DECT network. They are confident that there will be no interference or communication blackspots. That commitment to coverage is a big thing for us, operating as we do on sites with large grounds.”
The system is also reassuring during evenings, at night and at weekends, when there may be fewer people in the hospital.
“Staff are confident that they can get hold of one another easily. The handsets have phone books, and calls can be easily transferred to another part of the Trust.” Flexibility and adaptability are vital too for the multi-site estate. Simon gives an example. “We currently rent some premises from another trust but will not be in there for a long time. Ascom came up with a Wi-Fi solution that gave us more access points and an alarm system without having to install a new network. It was much more cost effective. We did not have to close the ward to install it, and we knew that when we moved, we could take the system to our new premises, so the investment is still there.”
Keeping 1500 handsets operating efficiently is no small task, and SLaM has a slick operation to enable ‘hot swapping’ of devices. Staff who bring a broken handset to the estates department can quickly have their data transferred on to a new device and leave their old one in the cradle to be fixed.
"It means there is no downtime for devices, and we can provide first line triage for faults, keeping the whole system running as smoothly as possible.”
Using the in-built location technology, every member of staff can receive an automatic alert that prompts them to return their handsets before they leave the site.
Would he recommend the Ascom system to other trusts? “Certainly. I have often recommended it, and we have had visits from other trusts. The best thing for me is the security of the network, and the adaptability of the system.”