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How the LGI pushed
for change

The role of a facilities manager is often varied and the team at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) certainly have plenty to deal with. The oldest of the hospitals in Leeds, the LGI has seen some major developments in recent years, which included building the brand new, state of the art Jubilee Wing that opened its doors in 1998. The new wing pushed the boundaries in terms of hospital design, and houses a range of services including an accident and emergency department and a high-tech high dependency unit.

The sheer size of the site can cause problems, something that Sean Dodsworth, Senior Facilities Manager for Patient Environment at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is only too aware. The issue of manual handling is an ongoing concern and even in the modern surroundings of the Jubilee Wing it seems some of the working practices have failed to keep pace with the times and today improvements are still being made.

Sean explains: “Manual handling is a problem for us and we regularly have people off work because of injuries, so it has to be taken seriously. We’re always looking at ways that we can make improvements and we specifically train staff to identify risks as they observe people doing their jobs. In addition, we hold regular focus groups with staff in order to get their feedback about potential risks.”

“A recent problem that arose was how the cleaners’ mop heads are transported to the hospital’s laundry rooms. Some days there can be up to 3,000 mop heads that need taking from the wards to be washed and when they are wet they become extremely heavy. Until recently there were two women pushing and pulling a wheeled container around the wards for several hours every day. The fact that the hospital is split over 3 buildings and also built on a hill made it even harder.”

Denise Cross, Facilities Manager for Patient Environment at the hospital, who is a senior member of Sean’s team was responsible for solving the problem. She says: “A motorised option seemed like the obvious solution but it had to be compact and able to operate in very tight spaces. After looking at a wide range of options, Slingsby suggested a Movexx electric tug that is designed to pull, push and steer wheeled loads of up to 1,000kg, with hardly any effort from the operator.

“We have had the tug adapted to fit the container truck we put the mopheads in and because it runs on rechargeable batteries, we can run it all day without any problems.

“Although there were slightly cheaper options available, this product is extremely versatile and enables us to manoeuvre substantial loads around confined spaces by literally flicking a switch and we could start using it straight away. Plus, it now means just one person can do the job, so it will pay for itself by freeing up an employee to be reallocated to do other things.”

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