Chris Sawyer, Health and Safety Manager at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation
Trust, tells us about managing CAS alerts at Kettering; why they partnered with Allocate to develop the CASAssure system; some of the functionality and benefits.
“Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is an acute trust serving the north of Northamptonshire and is dedicated to providing the best possible care for the population it serves. As part of this the Trust has a requirement to ensure it complies with patient safety alerts. These important alerts highlight emerging risks for patient safety and identifies equipment and medication issues.
Alerts are issued through a central alerting system (CAS), NHS Improvement, MHRA or NHS Estates. Each alert comes with a set of timeframes; one for when actions should commence and the second to indicate when actions should be completed. NHS Improvement alerts are usually the result of emerging trends within incident reporting across England. MHRA alerts relate to medical devices and those from NHS Estates deal with infrastructure issues.
The Trust’s previous CAS system was created locally and was complicated and time consuming to use and only allowed the CAS officer (the Trust’s Health and Safety Manager) to view all alerts which was deemed a risk.
A new system was desperately needed to:
- Have the ability to be seen by a wide range of people
- Be user friendly
- Be time effective
- Have the ability to store evidence of compliance
- Be able to interface with other areas of compliance
Having used the HealthAssure system for a number of years for various assurance frameworks (including CQC and NICE), Kettering General Hospital approached Allocate Software with a view to developing a CAS Alert framework as a module within HealthAssure. Allocate Software were very receptive to this idea, and worked in partnership with the Trust to design and develop a system called CASAssure.
With CASAssure all alerts are stored in one central location allowing them to be allocated to several people when appropriate. Most importantly it provides links to all the evidence of compliance – including the Fundamental Standards of care, providing evidence of safe practices. Individuals are able to add their evidence to the system to prove compliance and the Trust can ensure that compliance against the alert is maintained and tracked accordingly.
Easy to use it saves time with the dissemination of alerts. The Trust’s previous system could take up to 20 minutes to send out the initial alert whereas now it takes less than 5 minutes. Allocate Software receive the CAS alerts directly from the originator (e.g. NHS England) and adds them automatically to CASAssure. The Trust now only has to monitor the system for new alerts, and allocate them to nominated handlers.
The trust is very pleased with CASAssure as it is easy to use and easy to view evidence, it’s time efficient and is a reliable system to disseminate risk and evidence compliance.”