Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust serves both acute and community healthcare needs in Sheffield and the wider population. The trust encompasses a wide spectrum of adult community services, including two prominent adult hospitals, the Northern General Hospital and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. Additionally, it oversees the specialised facilities of Charles Clifford Dental, Jessop Wing and Weston Park hospitals.
Although the Trust covers a small geographical area, severe congestion was causing delays to patient transport. As a result, it embarked on a transformative journey in its provision of transport services which included the adoption of Allocate Transport Marketplace software to streamline its operations. The transformation brought a significant number of benefits including a reduced administration burden, cost reduction, greater visibility to improve decision making, improved resilience of the service and patient experience. In addition, the Trust saw improved operational continuity and efficient winter planning. In tangible savings the Trust has saved £198,000 in the last ten months from being able to discharge patient overnight.
Challenges in transport provision
Kris Wujkiw is the Operations Manager responsible for transport services across five main hospital sites, including the Northern General and Royal Hallamshire Hospitals, both crucial locations for patient care. These sites are spread over a relatively small geographical area but often experience severe traffic congestion. Moreover, the Trust hosts specialised centres, attracting patients from across the UK, further complicating transport logistics. Another challenge was the lack of provider resilience as the Trust had a limited pool of transport providers, causing a vulnerability in case of unforeseen circumstances
This structure, with multiple sites and specialist centres, presented a complex challenge in optimising transport provision. As Kris explains: “We do rely on the use of ambulances more so than probably other Trusts do down to the way we are configured.”
Kris recalls an incident simulation that highlighted the issue: “We ran a major incident exercise back in 2016 or 2017. We realised how little resilience we had in terms of our options available for transport.”
Meeting the challenge with Allocate Transport Marketplace
To address these challenges, Kris explored various options, including setting up a Trust transport framework. However, the search led the Trust to Allocate Transport Marketplace, a solution that aligned perfectly with its needs. Kris says: “Allocate Transport Marketplace offered a comprehensive solution that could efficiently manage transport provision and provider relationships.”
Implementing Allocate Transport Marketplace software was relatively straightforward. Kris reported directly to the Deputy Chief Operating Officer, who saw the value in adopting the software and streamlined the decision-making process. The Trust’s internal teams were enthusiastic about the solution, making the implementation smoother.
Realising the benefits of transport transformation
Allocate Transport Marketplace brought numerous tangible and intangible benefits to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:
- Efficiency: The software reduced the administrative burden significantly. Kris noted, “The team itself was scaled back…we’ve essentially halved the team.” They no longer needed to perform time-consuming compliance checks, as the platform facilitated streamlined provider onboarding.
- Cost reduction: The trust experienced cost savings through increased efficiency. The reduction in administrative work and the ability to compare quotes quickly contributed to financial savings.
- Visibility: Allocate Transport Marketplace provided complete visibility into costs, quotes, and transport requests. This transparency allowed the trust to make informed decisions promptly.
- Resilience: The software expanded the pool of transport providers available to the trust. Adding more providers to the Trust’s marketplace improved the service.
- Patient experience: The elimination of transport-related bottlenecks led to improved patient experience. Patients were no longer waiting for hours to be transported from one facility to another, reducing stress and discomfort.
- Operational continuity: Allocate Transport Marketplace ensured seamless handovers between staff shifts, preventing disruptions in transport arrangements and providing a consistent service.
- Efficient winter planning: The trust was better equipped to handle winter pressures, as the platform allowed for agile and responsive transport planning. Kris highlighted that they no longer needed to scramble to adjust transport provisions during busy periods.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s adoption of Allocate Transport Marketplace brought transformative changes to its transport provision. The challenges of a complex hospital network and limited provider resilience were effectively addressed. The software streamlined operations, reduced costs, and improved the patient experience.
Kris has a unique perspective, having worked in both the private and public sector and as a result this helped to underscore the benefits of adopting an innovative solution. Allocate Transport Marketplace not only met the Trust’s immediate needs but also positioned it to adapt seamlessly to future challenges.
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