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NHS Trust celebrates 10 years with Reliance Protect

Shared journey an “absolute privilege”.


In 2019 Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and Reliance Protect are celebrating their successful 10-year partnership supporting Trust staff working alone and in areas of risk, through fully monitored lone worker devices and a broad network of over-arching support, much of it developed in collaborative ventures between the two organisations.

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Health & Social Care May 23, 2024


Reliance wins tender to supply NHS with Lone Worker Devices via Framework Agreement

an early adopter, CNTW expands lone worker devices into additional service areas

Reliance wins NHS Framework renewal tender

CNTW further expands lone worker devices via the second Framework, across multiple contracts and Reliance develops bespoke device usage reports to pull all contracts under central reporting

CNTW consolidates all existing contracts into one over-arching renewal with lone worker device upgrades, becoming the first customer to go live on the new Reliance portal, having played a key role in its development

Reliance Key Account Manager and CNTW develop a strategy to further embed usage and adoption across the Trust

Playing the long game – together

Reliance Protect has always seen the building of long term, mutually beneficial client relationships as a high priority. Running through the company culture in every department, at every level, this focus has resulted in numerous fruitful engagements, among which a shining example is the company’s work with CNTW.

From small beginnings with just 50 devices, the Trust has become one of Reliance Protect’s largest customers, with over 2,000 lone worker device users – more than a third of the Trust’s entire workforce.

Devices, monitoring and training

The Trust first used lone worker devices in 2006, with a pilot project involving some 50 users. A key outcome of the programme was the establishment of the NHS Supply Chain National Framework Contract for lone worker protection solutions. The Trust worked together with other NHS bodies on the assessment of tender responses for the national framework contract, which was won by Reliance Protect.

Through this Framework the user base grew to nearly 500 with additional funding from the Department of Health, in a two-year national programme running from 2009 to extend usage of lone worker devices to a wide variety of NHS staff.

During the two years of government funding, the Trust focused on learning as much as possible about how best to use and manage their lone worker protection devices and service. With a community transformation agenda driving increasing focus on care in the community, the Trust was planning to employ larger numbers of lone and isolated workers.

Today Reliance Protect provides lone worker coverage for over 2,000 staff at CNTW. Each individual has a dedicated device, almost all of which are GPS enabled, allowing the Reliance Protect Monitoring Centre to deliver effective help more quickly in the event of an alert. Monitoring Centre staff handle alerts as they occur, where necessary escalating them to the police. Key staff at the Trust are made aware of every alert within 15 minutes of its occurrence, allowing them to act in according with Trust procedures.

Most user, administrative and management training is delivered by Reliance Protect trainers in face-to-face sessions at various locations across the Trust’s wide geographical area. Face-to-face training gives new users an unmatched opportunity not only to receive key information on device usage, safe practices and other key topics, but also to ask questions and get input on specific issues that concern them.

Reliance Protect also provides a powerful online e-learning platform, ideal for refresher training for users who have been away from device usage for a period of time, perhaps during maternity leave or while on secondment. The e-learning platform is also on hand for users who cannot attend their face-to-face training session.

Partnership, going above and beyond

While Reliance Protect has unrivalled experience, understanding and expertise in lone worker protection devices and Monitoring Centre services, it is its partnership approach that sets it head and shoulders above its competitors. This approach lies behind the enormous value the Trust has gained through its relationship with Reliance Protect over last ten years.

Traditionally, each customer has an account manager – their point of contact for a broad spread of enquiries, addressing contractual and other matters. Denise Gamage, Reliance Protect Account Manager for Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, takes a proactive approach, with regular review meetings to identify areas in which the Trust can improve results.

Additionally, Reliance Protect provides a Key Account Manager, Katrina Wilkinson, who works closely with the Trust on areas such as best practice, structure, device and service usage, and benchmarks. In particular, Katrina provides support for the Trust’s contract administrators and device users, helping create processes to keep device users safe, and helping the Trust extract actionable intelligence on device usage. “If we need any additional reports, beyond those in the standard suite, Katrina can create them very quickly,” Tony Gray, the Trust’s Head of Safety, Security and Resilience, noted.

The partnership has been two-way in nature. Not only does Reliance Protect provide the Trust with superlative support and expertise; the Trust has also been deeply involved with helping Reliance to develop key aspects of its service offering. The recently launched online self service contract management tool is a great example of such collaboration.

Taking the safety of its workforce seriously, the Trust has been supported and led from the outset by Gary O’Hare, its Executive Director of Nursing and Chief Operating Officer. He has championed lone working arrangements at board level to ensure that resources are available to keep staff safe.

The system within the Trust has won a national award and received exemplary scores in both internal and external audits – results which would not have been possible without the deep and far-reaching partnership with Reliance Protect.

“Reliance have created high quality, well thought-through tools and systems,” said Tony. “They ‘just work’ presenting the information we need to make the right decisions, fast, protecting our users, and, ultimately, protecting the Trust.”

Over the last 10 years NHS worker safety has seen significant cultural change. It has been an absolute privilege to have shared that journey with Reliance Protect as we have continued our learning and improvement methodology together.

Head of Safety, Security and Resilience Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust