My Current Job

I currently work for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust as a Materials Management Officer. It is the job of myself and the other team members to ensure that all the supplies required to keep the hospitals in our trust, (Watford General, St. Albans City and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals) running smoothly are ordered, delivered and stored. The two oldest ward buildings at Watford General Hospital are the Women’s Services building (opened in 1968) and the main Princess Michael of Kent building (opened in 1986). When these buildings were opened the Supplies Teams of the day were run on a completely different operating schedule and the store rooms were adequate, for the time and amount of patients coming through the doors. As the years have passed, the hospital has nearly quadrupled its turn over of patients and, with new wards and departments opening all the time, space has become a premium. Most of the store rooms are on the small side and decked out with shelving on which the stock is placed. This is no longer suitable for the amount of stock required to keep many of the wards running. With NHS Trusts money is always tight, with finances being reserved for more ‘important’ things like, CT Scanners, Blood Pressure Monitors, Beds, Wheel Chairs and the like. So trying to get the money to improve store rooms is seen as a low priority, which is why we have to convince the Budget Holder, of the ward that we want to improve, that a new store room design would save them money (which it does in the matter of a few months).

Below are two photographs taken of the main Accident and Emergency Department store room, at Watford General Hospital. As you can see from the photographs, the room is small and the stock is stacked on shelves in boxes, which are not easy to reach and really shouldn’t be above head height. Once the stock has been removed and stored in a suitable location, so that it can still be accessed by the staff, the shelving is removed so that the new storage system can be installed.
In the photographs you can see Sue Carter (mauve) and Valerie Wilders (blue) busy clearing the store room.

Running to a schedule is important and when upgrading a store room timing is everything. Because the hospital never shuts and the stock is always required we have to be as quick as we possibly can. At West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust we use the Medstor Mailbox Materials Management Shelving System, which entails a representative from Medstor, in this case Jeremy Masson, arriving a few weeks earlier to measure the chosen store room. With his measurements taken a quote is offered a few days later, which is passed on to the budget holder. With the okay given, Medstor begin the manufacturing of the Mailbox Shelving System. We then liaise with the various parties to secure a suitable date for the installation. On the agreed upon date the store room is cleared and the Mailbox Shelving System is delivered, first thing in the morning. Once unloaded the cabinets are moved to the ward and installed by trained Medstor installers, who can complete three average sized store rooms per day.

Below you can see the cabinets being delivered to the Watford General Hospital Site.

Depending on how long the installation takes, denotes how much time I have to put the stock back into the improved store room. This is where knowing the wards stock levels and pack sizes comes in very important. It isn’t simply a case of emptying the stock into drawers, as everything has to be put in the right place to aid the staff. Colour-coding (Blue = Oxygen Therapy; Yellow = Urology; etc.) and labelling (Product, Stock Level and Price) the drawers also takes time. For the Accident and Emergency store room, the space created with the Mailbox Shelving System allowed me to bring stock in that had previously been kept in other areas, around the department. This made a huge difference to the staff and myself, as 90% of the departments stock was now centralised. This also gave the department a ‘spare’ room, which was soon converted into a new bay. It took me just over three hours to fill the store room, with me returning the following morning to complete the colour-coding and labelling. Six months later, I was able to show that the savings created by the new shelving system equated to nearly £600 per month, compared to the same time the previous year. Since the completion of the A + E store room, many other wards and departments have seen the benefits and have also had the Medstor Materials Management Shelving System Installed.
Below you can see the Medstor Mailbox Materials Management Shelving System installed in the Accident and Emergency Department of Watford General Hospital.

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