Student project results in new £2m facility for hospital

23-Dec-2013

Centralised endoscopy decontamination unit is brainchild of James Cook Hospital business performance manager

A £2m decontamination unit has opened at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, the brainchild of one of the members of staff at the trust.

Christine Williams, business performance manager for the division of acute medicine at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, looked into the processes for decontaminating flexible endoscopes, which are used to examine patient’s stomachs, as part of her work-based degree in leadership and management at Teesside University.

And her project has led to the installation of the new unit, which will deal with more than 900 endoscopies each month.

Williams said: “A pivotal part of my degree, a work-based programme, is to undertake a work-based project.

“Working with the support and contribution of trust colleagues, I looked at the decontamination of endoscopes in the endoscopy and theatre setting. It is crucial to make sure endoscopes are decontaminated effectively and I looked at ways of making this even more efficient and effective.

Bringing together academic research and the knowledge gained through professional experience can result in massive benefits for both organisations and individuals

“My university project gave me the opportunity to blend the theory and practice to put in place a new system that would improve the overall patient experience and access to services.”

Thanks to Christine’s project South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust decided to put in place a new centralised decontamination unit, with a dedicated team of staff for endoscope reprocessing.

Williams said: “What we have now is a central point for decontamination which, from a service point of view, means we clean, decontaminate and package up endoscopes in a more-efficient way. “We were already delivering best practice, however we’ve gone further than that; we have future-proofed the service.

“From a savings point of view by centralising the system we’re eliminating waste and there is no delay for a patient coming in for a procedure.

“From a personal point of view the project has allowed me to improve my analytical and project management skills. Plus it has also strengthened my leadership and management skills to combine with how I work on a day-to-day basis.”

Yasmin Scott, acute medicine divisional manager at the trust, added: “The development of a centralised decontamination unit which is streamlined and purpose built, with a dedicated team of staff, has further enhanced quality of care and patient safety.”

From a savings point of view by centralising the system we’re eliminating waste and there is no delay for a patient coming in for a procedure

And Laura Woods, director of academic enterprise at Teesside University, told BBH: “Christine Williams’ project for her work-based learning degree is already making a considerable difference to the lives of people in the region.

“Bringing together academic research and the knowledge gained through professional experience can result in massive benefits for both organisations and individuals.

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“In Christine’s case a new process has been put in place making a positive difference to healthcare practices in the region showing the value of this collaborative process.”

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