Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust cut 565 hours of supplementary security guarding in just one month – without affecting staff and patient safety
Protecting the staff and patients at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is no small task. The Trust covers four clinical sites and employs nearly 5,000 members of staff and 500 volunteers who treat around900,000 patients every year.
When the Trust’s security contract was due for renewal in 2015, they were looking for a provider that understood the unique challenges of this type of contract.
ICTS was one of several companies that submitted a tender proposal. The company had provided manned guarding services to the Trust in the past – even helping deliver St Helier’s emergency incident plan when it was a designated receiving hospital during the 7th July bombings.
The Trust awarded the contract to ICTS for the second time in May 2015, and a team of 24 SIA-accredited officers and two managers started work on the contract in early 2016.
The officers provide round-the-clock cover on all four sites and deal with an average of 60 security incidents per month, around half of which involve violence and aggression. They respond to every emergency incident in less than three minutes and work to 51 different performance standards set by the Trust.
ICTS’s clients benefit from a 20% staff contingency policy, which means that they always get the manpower level they’ve paid for, even during periods of staff absence. In the Trust’s case, six additional officers – all trained to SIA and NHS requirements – are on hand to provide cover at short notice.
Additional officers are also available, at extra cost to the Trust, for times when the demand for security staff exceeds the number of officers available. For a complex security contract like this one, where officers can be called to several different incidents at one time, this gives the extra flexibility needed to keep staff and patients safe.
However, in July 2016, the Trust used 565 additional hours of manned guarding – costing more than £7,800 – after it changed the way in which additional security requests from wards were financed
Paul Phillips, ICTS’s Contract Manager for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, worked with his contacts at the Trust to review the types of incidents that security staff were being called to and find a solution.
Paul had built good relationships across the Trust’s 172 departments and was able to educate clinical staff about the types of incidents the security team should be called to. He also screened requests for assistance and monitored the types of incidents being reported.
As a result, no additional officers were needed the following month, and only five additional hours were required in December 2016. This has significantly reduced the Trust’s security bill without affecting staff or patient safety.
Paul and the team continue to monitor security usage and have managed to maintain this low level of additional staffing.
Not only has ICTS helped the Trust save money, the team also goes well beyond the terms of the contract to offer extra value. For example, a non-clinical building was recently added to the contract at no additional cost to the Trust. The team patrols the building and responds to incidents alongside regular patrols of the other four sites.
And when the team felt that it would benefit the trust to have a second Local Security Management Specialist (LSMS), Jon Cermak, the ICTS contract manager at the time, volunteered to take part in the training. Every NHS Trust is required to have at least one LSMS – usually an NHS employee. Jon remains a reserve LSMS for the trust, at no extra cost, even after moving on to another role.
Emma Norris, Facilities Manager and LSMS at the Trust, praised the team for its high standards and professionalism. She said: “I attend meetings with other NHS trusts, and their suppliers just stick to the contract. ICTS always goes above and beyond; they’re always happy to help the team and clinical staff with anything they need.”
Emma noted in particular the actions of an ICTS officer in dealing with an aggressive patient in December 2016. Security officer Bruce Moy was left alone with the patient when his colleague was called to another incident. The patient physically assaulted Bruce, leaving him with injuries. Despite this, Bruce remained calm and safely restrained the patient, preventing him from harming others. Bruce was advised to go home to recover but he refused, choosing instead to stay and help his team through a busy shift. He was later awarded Employee of the Month for his actions.
Looking to the future
The ICTS team scores consistently highly against the Trust’s 51 performance measures. However, Emma says, the officers continually “strive to improve the service they deliver”.
The next improvement will come with the introduction of body-worn cameras. ICTS recently helped the Trust secure external funding for the cameras, which will be worn by security staff while on patrol. Not only will the cameras help the team gather evidence, they can act as a deterrent, diffusing problematic situations before they get out of hand.
The Trust’s contract with ICTS runs until 2018 with the option of a two-year extension taking it to 2020.