​This section is designed to showcase some of the work done by colleagues and departments that you're perhaps not so familiar with, explaining how the essential work they do is vital to the support of our clinical wards, outpatient suites and departments. Every single member of staff performs an important role in ensuring our patients receive the best possible care, even those who do not have direct patient contact, so please take a moment to read about the great work being done across the Trust by these incredible teams and individuals.

​Welcome to the world of Portering

​When it comes to keeping the hospital moving, there is one element of the hospital team without whom this Trust would literally grind to a halt.

The Portering team is often overlooked yet covers every inch of the hospital, ensures that our inpatients get to and from their diagnostic tests, takes care of changing the medical gases, responds to emergency requests and much more.

But first a few statistics…did you know that there are 28 full time equivalent porters who work shifts to deal with 90,000 portering requests a year? How about that they move 1,130 tonnes of waste per year from wards, clinical areas and office areas to the waste yards by hand? Pretty impressive!
​Neil Rowley is the Portering Services Manager, he said: “It’s a much harder job than people think, you need four weeks of basic training to start portering and it takes six months to be fully compliant. This is to ensure that we’re certified to use things like Blood Hound, which is the blood handling electronic system, and be sufficiently competent to respond to medical emergencies. It’s certainly not the kind of job you can just walk off the street and be able to do.

“We operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; between 6am and 10pm there is a task controller in the portering lodge who will allocate tasks. It’s his job to decide who should respond to emergencies and assign the next task, which isn’t always simply the next on the list; there is a strong element of prioritising. Some jobs, such as CT scans, are more urgent because it’s not as easy to re-arrange an appointment and a missed appointment causes cost implications for the Trust. It’s a pressurised job.
​“We use an electronic portering system which marks up jobs that have been allocated, in process or waiting allocation. We can see which porters are awaiting a job and allocate to the one who has been waiting the longest. We have a pool of porters for patient moves, equipment moves, blood collection and the general movement of equipment, waste and office furniture. It’s a very varied job and we cover every inch of the hospital on foot.”

But not everyone is up to the job and there are a few duties which can catch people unawares and it can be very physically demanding. You may have seen the porters walking the corridors towards the mortuary and this isn’t something that every individual can handle.

​Neil added: “There are some tasks which some people might not be comfortable with, including 
​the moving and storage of the deceased as well as helping in their preparation for viewing by relatives. Mortuary jobs take people out of their comfort zone and being in such close proximity to the deceased is something that can be difficult to come to terms with, but it’s part of the job and not something you can opt out of. We have had a few instances where people have left because they can’t handle that aspect but Mike Conway, the Mortuary Manager is very supportive and works closely with us to deliver training and explain what’s required.
“It’s also a very physical job and all new starters are required to have occupational health screening to assess the fitness for post. We worked out from when we did the Global Corporate Challenge that our porters’ pedometers ranged from eight to thirteen miles depending on the shifts, pushing and pulling more than your own body weight so you can imagine the physical demands, especially in the warmer months.

​“I don’t mind saying that the work we do is vital to the smooth running of the hospital and the team work incredibly hard to answer the calls as quickly as we possibly can. The one main problem we face is that around a third of requests we get are phone calls rather than over the Internet Access System. People might think it’s faster but it actually slows everything down because whilst the task controller is dealing with that call and manually entering the job, he isn’t allocating tasks. It’s also delaying other people trying to get through on the call which creates the effect of a backlog of jobs. If you input the job manually yourself then it comes through to us immediately and we can allocate it to the next available and appropriate porter.”

To book a job on the system then just log onto the Intranet, go to ‘Estates and Portering’, click on ‘Portering Help Desk’ and then ‘Add Request; which will allow you to fill in the details and you will be able to track the job on the screen.


Critical Care Audit Team Honoured

The audit team in our Critical Care has been given a quarterly award for quality.

The honour, handed to Senior Staff Nurse Rachael Shaw, Audit Clerk Claire Watson and Senior Staff Nurse Jo Hawes by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, was presented as a national award for the first time. It recognises the deadlines that are continually met by the team and the high quality data they produce.

Rachael said: “We are a small team who work hard to collect and input accurate data for the Case Mix Programme, which is an extensive and continuous audit of patient outcomes from adult, general critical and high dependency care units.
​“This year we have started sharing some of the reports at our monthly Quality Improvement meetings with Critical Care. Sharing this information with our colleagues highlights what good work we all do and identifies any areas for improvement.”

The award is a quarterly one and recognises the outstanding work in completing the Quality Reports. It’s a national award so to receive the very first is quite an honour.
​“It’s a difficult job,” Jo added, “and there are three new indicators for this year designed to highlight the potentially late recognition of risk, potential issues around delayed availability of ward beds and possible issues around the lack of availability of ward beds.

“It’s very important that we meet these indicators as it has a bearing on forward planning and ensuring that our bed capacity meets patient demand as much as possible. There is a lot of data to analyse and we get a lot of help and input from ward clerks which allows us to get all of the notes we need to meet these indicators.”

Congratulations to the team from everyone at the Royal!