In late 2014, Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust undertook a comprehensive review of its policies to protect lone workers. The Trust has since made major reforms - including the adoption of Reliance Protect - to transform care for lone workers as part of an award-winning approach to staff safety.
Serving approximately 750,000 people, Liverpool Community Health delivers health and dental services to people in their own homes and over 70 locations. These include health centres, walk-in clinics and GP practices. Many of the Trust’s 3000 staff have field-based roles that bring them into contact with patients and their families in the community.
In the course of duty, lone workers can sometimes be threatened with verbal or physical abuse or feel vulnerable while travelling alone. After rewriting its lone worker safety policy, the Trust set about implementing best practice in line with NHS regulatory standards.
Liverpool Community Health needed to increase safety and security for their lone workers and chose a solution with advanced user-friendly technology to give field-based lone workers access to immediate support in vulnerable situations. The Reliance Protect solution is a comprehensive and inclusive care package, including support, training and development of a train-the-trainer programme, providing Liverpool Community Health with an effective user training programme. The community health trust wanted to help drive culture change within the organisation, therefore took proactive steps to embed routine use of lone worker devices into everyday routines. Reliance Protect ensured complete compliance with HSE regulations with guaranteed SLAs, KPIs, and reporting in line with the NHS framework and statutory standards.
After conducting an in-depth assessment of its needs and employee risk profiles, the Trust chose Reliance Protect. Purchasing from Reliance within the NHS framework agreement offered a trusted package of services that had been competitively tendered according to EU guidelines.
Uniquely styled as an identity badge, the GPS-enabled Identicom device is easy to wear and use. Featuring red and amber alert capabilities, the push of a discreet button activates an audio call to the dedicated 24/7 Reliance Monitoring Centre. There, an expert responder can pinpoint the user’s precise location, assess and record unfolding events, take appropriate action and, if necessary, escalate the call to the emergency services.
Keen to fast-track the service, the Trust initially planned a rapid roll-out of 1400 devices. Given the scale of the launch, the training programme was adapted to maximise understanding and uptake of the devices via small, hands-on training sessions. Champions were nominated in local teams to encourage use of the devices. Allied to this, a train-the-trainer initiative was introduced to support in-house training, refresher training and basic induction training for new joiners.
The importance of the devices was promoted by a communications campaign to win hearts and minds via posters, cards and other messages reminding lone workers to use their devices. Positive staff experiences were shared to reinforce the benefits of using the device.
By mid-2016 the Trust had deployed 1725 devices and ensured that lone workers were trained to use them. Almost 97% of all lone workers at the Trust are now utilising Reliance Protect and the service has full union backing. In a further endorsement, the Trust’s Health & Safety team received an award in 2016 from the Chair of the Trust. Reliance Protect is now fully embedded as part of the Trust’s ‘business-as-normal’ operations and will offer the flexibility to adapt, for example, to enable greater localisation and additional functions as needs change.
As a result, Reliance Protect is making it much easier for Liverpool Community Health to mitigate risk and meet its duty of care for employees, while ensuring the Trust is compliant with regulatory health and safety guidelines.