Response support for Weston Area Health Trust COVID-19 cells optimising stock management for PPE and equipment

Co-ordinating, managing, and helping to build functionality to support effective Incident Control Centre (ICC) and COVID response cells, including the development of clinical and non-clinical Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The challenge

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, we had been working with Weston Area Health Trust for the preceding nine months, running their Cost Improvement Programme (CIP) and providing transformation support. As COVID-19 developed we were asked to support the hospital in developing the COVID response cell structure to manage the response and from 1 April mirroring the approach being taken by University Hospitals Bristol when they merged. Also providing programme management tools including how to manage quick decision making and others to support the running of the ICC. 

The approach 

Initially, the support provided was helping divisional managers to set up a functional incident control room.

Subsequently, and more predominantly, we supported the COVID response cells for PPE, Equipment, Consumables including Oxygen and Information Management and Technology. Some examples of our support include the fast-paced rollout of Attend Anywhere – virtual clinics and the implementation of new processes associated with PPE and ICU consumables during COVID -19, including emergency management of procurement where required.

We also provided a control room manager to support the Silver incident control room, triage inboxes (up to 250 emails a day) and phone calls, manage live issues raised, triage to a response cell, track and follow through to resolution.

As well as understanding the stock levels our team created a fully-fledged PPE management and ordering process and supported its implementation across the entire hospital, now division, to manage stocks and source, at pace, where insufficient quantities were identified, including researching infection control acceptable alternatives, with support from clinical colleagues.  Having handed this to the operational team to run, SCW colleagues then provided additional support, managing emergency escalations and regular analytical data deep dives into PPE stocks, supporting the regular sitrep report and NHSE/I data submissions.

The result 

  • The stock management process we developed and supported has actively ensured that a constant supply of PPE has been available at Weston General Hospital.
  • We brought rigour and process to the sourcing and stock control for huge quantities of PPE for the entire hospital.
  • We supported the coordination and management of the COVID19 response, helping to build the functionality of the ICC response cells with four people working both virtually and on the hospital site.
  • The support we provided involved writing SOPs, governance structures, managing and coordinating orders for PPE and ensuring correct policies and procedures were in place in order to ensure the cells functioned effectively.

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