How Checkit helped get NHS Nightingale hospital running in 10 days
At the outset of the Covid-19 crisis, Checkit launched a rapid response to support the NHS by installing automated temperature monitoring at NHS Nightingale field hospitals, protecting medicines and other critical inventory.
The UK’s first NHS Nightingale hospital was set up at the London ExCeL centre to expand the country’s capacity to treat patients suffering from Covid.
The London Nightingale hospital officially opened on 3rd April 2020, just 10 days after the Government announced plans for the facility.
Checkit expanded its monitoring solution in 2021 when the building became a vaccination centre. In addition, Checkit rolled out temperature monitoring systems to over 50 vaccination hubs across the UK.
Urgent demand for Covid hospital capacity
The creation of the NHS Nightingale London Hospital in such challenging circumstances was the result of a massive logistical effort from NHS staff, volunteers and military personnel.
Checkit stepped forward at an early stage to offer unequivocal support to this and other NHS Nightingale hospitals being set up across the country.
As a long-standing supplier of technology and associated services to more than 300 NHS sites across the UK, Checkit’s track record was quickly recognised.
Barts Health NHS Trust, which was appointed by NHS London to run the hospital, was already a user of Checkit’s automated monitoring services.
As a starting point, Checkit immediately identified that the field hospital would require extensive automated temperature monitoring systems to uphold safe storage conditions for medicines and other critical inventory held within the facility.
The scale and urgency of the requirement, combined with the logistical challenges or lockdown, created a particular set of challenges for the Checkit team.
"The project was completed quickly and will provide vital reassurance as we manage the healthcare demands of the coming weeks and months."
Rapid installation of advanced monitoring
When the offer was accepted, Checkit mobilised its technical and engineering teams within hours to design, configure and install two separate UKAS calibrated wireless monitoring systems in accordance with the requirements of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Human Tissue Authority (HTA).
Within seven working days, the real-time monitoring systems were fully installed and activated to ensure the safe and compliant storage of critical items and reduce the staff burden of carrying out manual temperature checking procedures.
Checkit's medical-grade monitoring services enable round-the-clock monitoring of critical storage temperatures. Variance beyond agreed parameters triggers immediate alerts and all data is securely stored in the cloud for trend analysis and compliance reporting.
Following the initial request for monitoring of up to 40 refrigerated containers, Checkit’s engineers calibrated and configured an Automated Monitoring + system within one day so that installation could commence as quickly as possible.
Working closely with contractors, on-site Army personnel and members of Barts Health NHS Trust, the Checkit team mapped out the IT requirements for the system.
Two days later, Checkit’s engineers were on-site to carry out the first installation. Before the end of the first week, they returned to finalise connectivity with IT infrastructure being put in place. The system was activated with a live dashboard 48 hours later.
During that week, Checkit received an additional request from the pharmacy team for further monitoring of medicines in five refrigerated units. The process of configuration, calibration, installation and connectivity was quickly underway. This second system was live within five days.
Phil Douglas, Operations Manager at Checkit, said: “Over a period of seven working days from initial request, two separate systems were installed and set live. We were working under very difficult conditions during lockdown, with both on-site and remote teams coordinating resources to overcome the significant restrictions and challenges of the circumstances. The fact that the project was completed so quickly, safely and effectively is a tribute to the flexibility shown by the whole team.”
Despite the conditions of the crisis, which depleted the Checkit workforce, the installation was completed while simultaneously finalising similar projects at four other existing hospital sites in need of automated monitoring solutions.
When the ExCeL centre was converted into a vaccination hub in 2021, Checkit provided similar support to ensure the safe storage of vaccine doses.
Partnering with the pharmacy team from the Barts Health NHS Trust, Checkit engineers worked around the clock to install automated monitoring in just three days – 10 times faster than typical timescales. In a challenging environment, Checkit’s team installed 50 sensors and four data hubs, which were rapidly set live.
Critical inventory is protected during historic pandemic period
The success of the Checkit installation ensured the highest standards of protection for temperature-sensitive medicines and other critical inventory - saving staff time and maximising patient safety.
John Pitcher, Chair of the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology, who has been coordinating storage facilities at the London site, paid tribute to Checkit’s rapid response.
He said: "I thank the team for their incredible contribution in extremely difficult circumstances. The project was completed quickly and will provide vital reassurance as we manage the healthcare demands of the coming weeks and months."
Checkit was also praised by Samantha Quaye, pharmacy technician at Barts Health NHS Trust, who praised the professionalism of the whole team.
The subsequent addition of additional sensors to monitor the storage of Covid-19 vaccine doses also attracted praise.
Naheed Phul, Deputy Chief Pharmacist at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “The Covid vaccination programme has been rolled out at an astonishing pace, despite a range of logistical and technical challenges. It is a credit to our amazing NHS staff and a credit to the partners who helped to make it possible, one of whom is Checkit. The Checkit team did a fantastic job within an extremely short time to help ensure the safe delivery of vaccines to the public. Their response was amazing and we are all so very grateful.”
In addition to the London centre, Checkit extended its automated monitoring to support to over 50 other sites from the South Coast to Scotland. Checkit enabled monitoring of vaccine freezers at -80C and fridges between 2C and 8C.
"The Covid vaccination programme has been rolled out at an astonishing pace, despite a range of logistical and technical challenges. It is a credit to our amazing NHS staff and a credit to the partners who helped to make it possible, one of whom is Checkit.”
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