- Have a set budget code and a designated budget holder. We were not able to set up a separate budget code for the pilot, and this has hampered development and progression, as there wasn’t a quick and easy way to determine which costs went to the pilot from the system. This information was included in a spreadsheet that was shared with managers and finance on a regular basis.
- Keep an eye on your budget. We had regular meetings with the Finance team to keep them up to date with developments and advise them what we were planning. This ensured that when we had invoices that needed paying, and during the procurement process, the finance team were aware of what the plans were, and could advise other departments about financial commitments.
The NHS is a huge network, with different processes and procedures throughout different Trusts.
We found a number of different challenges throughout the pilot and learned that it was important to find a way to build projects around the systems that were already in place, as the success of the pilot would stem from integrating it into all the different systems throughout the Trust.
Click on the boxes below to explore more information on the lessons we learnt and tips on the system wide interventions within our Active Hospital pilot.
- To save delays, ensure that you have someone who understands the procurement processes as these can be complicated and time consuming. It is important that the team are aware of what needs to be done.
- Accept that things move slowly. We recommend that you start planning your procurement needs early.
- Find and use a Trust approved supplier where possible. This will help speed up the process as you will not need to follow the ‘New Supplier’ process, which can be very timely.
- Advise the procurement team about your project. Once we had explained the project, and forecasted spending, the procurement team were more comfortable in signing off projects.
- Find out the monetary limits for Single Tender Waivers. Some of our largest delays were due to the need to implement single tender waivers for the suppliers. As some were also new suppliers, it was frustrating to have to wait for them to be added to the system before we could submit the waiver for approval.
- Nominate a contact within procurement for your queries. A nominated contact is usually helpful, understands your project over time and can either offer you advice or give you details of who you should be speaking with to resolve issues.
- Is there anything in the current system that does what you need? Speak with the administrator for the system to find out. We did this when integrating the Physical Activity Calculator into the electronic patient records system. As it wasn’t there already, we worked with the IT team to build and integrating this to the clinical systems before training staff in its use.
- What are your physical IT requirements? Does the team need a designated computer or are they able to hot desk? Will you need to make outgoing/incoming calls? Do you need to be in a private area, or will an open office work? We equipped the core team with laptops and had a hot desk area that we were permitted to use, with access to a phone. The IT needs of the Physical Activity Champions were agreed on a case by case basis.
- Initially we used a cloud data storage solution to enable the team to access information but once we started collating patient information we purchased space on the hospital server to ensure data safety.
- Make links with the communications department. We found they were able to advise on processes, and who to contact for various things we wanted to do – for example, getting the maternity pathway video on the screens in the hospital. They advised on the whereabouts of the computer screens and provided details of the external suppliers who needed to show the video.
- If your trust has a bulletin, or monthly newsletter, showcase the work and changes you are implementing.
- Find out the process for getting information ‘Trust approved’. Having these signed off by the Trust, makes it easier for health care professionals to use the booklets as they have specific printing codes to enable them to easily request copies of the booklets. The process can take a while, so initially we developed the booklets in a ready for use format which were been printed ‘in house’. There is a guide to creating a new patient information leaflet to be used as part of an Active Hospital within our governance framework.
- Work with the Estates team. We wanted to put wraps around the elevators to encourage people to use the stairs rather than the elevator but were advised that this wasn’t possible. Instead we designed some ‘stair stickers’ for use on stairs, although as the staircases were being redesigned we weren’t able to use them.