Real Life Stories- The Milk race at Doncaster Royal Infirmary


Milk is loaded with nutrients, helps prevent all types of illnesses and has lots of health benefi ts, including being good for the immune system, so it’s no surprise that Doncaster Royal Infirmary encourages patients to enjoy a drop of the white stuff.

However, with a site that’s spread over more than 93,000 square metres and thousands of patients eagerly awaiting their calcium fix (or morning brew!), delivering hundreds of pints of milk throughout the hospital’s wards and canteens everyday is a huge task.

Such deliveries are a job for the stores department which is a dedicated team that is hidden away deep in the bowels of the hospital. The department is based around a relatively small and clearly congested warehouse area and it’s a far cry from the slick operating theatres and pristine wards upstairs that treat approximately 150,000 patients and 95,500 accident and emergency patients every year. However, the stores department operates with the same level of efficiency as the rest of the hospital. Outside there’s a continual flow of traffic arriving at the loading bays delivering everything from sweets for the vending machines through to state of the art medical equipment.

Each vehicle is unloaded in a matter of minutes with the level of urgency that can be seen at the other side of the building where the ambulances pull-up. The deliveries are quickly checked and in most cases they are loaded straight onto trolleys to be transported to their new home within the hospital. This is a job for the unsung heroes of Doncaster Royal Infirmary who spend nearly all their working days on their feet, and until recently it was normal for them to have to push or pull an old trolley up to 15 miles every day through the hospital’s corridors.

It’s obviously hard work and it was their aches and pains, combined with more than 50 pints of milk toppling over one day, that convinced the hospital that it was time to find a more suitable solution. The NHS Foundation Trust contacted Slingsby and looked at several options before deciding to invest in a fleet of state of the art, Powered Go-Far Trolleys.

Christopher Weston, Receipting and Distribution Supervisor at Doncaster Royal Infirmary explains: Until recently, we were using old trolleys and roll cages to transport everything around the hospital. This included all the milk which causes several problems because it has to be delivered in the morning; it goes off if it’s out of the fridge for too long; it’s heavy and it smells if it ends up on the floor!

"However, as well as the milk there are between 90 and 130 trolley loads being dispatched every day. These can weigh a lot and in parts of the hospital where the floors are uneven it was very hard work."

"We looked at a wide range of possible solutions but the Powered Go-Far Trolleys were an obvious choice. They are highly manoeuvrable, simple to use, have a long battery life, include a full range of safety features and they take all the strain out of the job. As well as improving efficiency, we’ve also seen a big reduction in breakages as a result of things not falling off trolleys which is down to the Go-Far’s low centre of gravity, generous platform size and secure sides."