St. George’s Hospital in Stafford is part of the South Staffordshire NHS Trust (now known as Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust). With 12 inpatient wards and a large number of outpatient clinics, it is the main treatment centre for acute mental health problems in the trust. The hospital’s 400 staff look after patients with a wide range of mental health problems: from young people experiencing their first episode of psychosis to mentally disordered offenders, i.e. patients who have committed a criminal offence, and elderly patients with dementia.
In 2015 the hospital upgraded its staff personal alarm system with the help of Pinpoint Limited.
Martyn Perry, Head of Programme Management Office and Assistive Technology Strategy Lead at St. George’s explains why the Pinpoint system was chosen: “When we reviewed our safety systems, we decided we needed to update our staff personal alarm system. The Pinpoint System meant we could protect more staff in more areas of the hospital than ever before, for the same or at a slightly lower cost than that of our existing system.”
Interoperability was also a major requirement by the trust. “We needed a staff alarm system that linked into existing security systems elsewhere in the hospital. Pinpoint’s technology can provide that,” says Martyn Perry. “On the wards, the staff have control screens in the central ward office. We also have a paging system from a different provider, but Pinpoint had no problem linking their alarm system to that. Our previous system only worked with its own proprietary components, so we couldn’t interlink it.”
Given that the installation had to take place while the wards were occupied and without interrupting the daily running of the hospital, it needed to be carefully scheduled over quite a significant period of time. “Pinpoint handled the installation professionally with minimum disruption to the wards,” continues Perry. “The engineers did a really great job. Mental health wards can be particularly challenging locations to install products without disrupting our service users.”
In addition to the wards, Pinpoint also installed the system in the outside space of the hospital. “Our extensive gardens play an important role in the recovery of our patients,” explains Perry. “Our previous system didn’t cover the outside space which made it more difficult for the staff supervising the gardens.
“The external installation had its own special challenges. The receivers had to be positioned carefully so that the sun would not interfere with the functionality. The solution provided by Pinpoint ensures the system provides effective coverage and works in all weather conditions.”
In a large hospital like St. George’s, staff personal attack alarms are activated on the wards almost every day therefore, the trust were keen to source a high performance, easy to use and reliable staff safety system. “Feedback from the users of the system has been positive,” says Perry. “The Pinpoint system is easier to use, requires very little training and the personal attack alarm devices are more robust.”
Apart from the physical installation on the wards and in the gardens, the new Pinpoint System had to be configured to work on the trust’s network. “Integration into our IT network wasn’t easy or straight forward,” explains Perry. “Pinpoint made some bespoke modifications to get the system to talk to our IT system as well as to work alongside a different paging solution.
“Working with Pinpoint has been a positive experience. The ward staff are happy to have a reliable alarm system and we, in the technology department, appreciate the personal dedication of the engineers and the very flexible service we receive from Pinpoint. They have taken a lot of time to install, explain and service the system. Any queries or maintenance issues are dealt with very quickly and competently.”