The FM frontline

Operational achievements and challenges

by Chris Cunniff

By Dennis Markey, Chief Operating Officer

There’s been some great achievements and initiatives announced over the last month from colleagues and teams within the operations directorate.

We continue to see great feedback following the national FM rationalisation and some good publicity in leading FM titles. By reducing the number of contractors we employ and setting a standard service specification, this process is already driving efficiencies for the NHS, with £15m already saved and an expected total saving of £22m by year end, which will be reinvested back into patient care. However, I’m aware that there are still challenges at some sites as new ways of working embed but we are working with contractors to resolve these and if anyone has any queries, please contact your local FM Business Manager.

Following the national procurement of FM services and securing contracts under NEC terms, the company has procured a software system called Conject to support the contract management process, providing transparent administration and reporting for both our contract managers and suppliers. The system will help support the development of a collaborative approach, which is associated with NEC contracting. I’d like to congratulate the  FM procurement and contracting team who have led on the implementation of this new system. They are currently working with Conject and FM teams to develop reports for local and central management teams to understand property activity for FM delivery and costing. Their hard work and dedication throughout this whole programme has added to its success and will ensure improved service provision for all our customers.

Dawn Nash is piloting patient appointment reminders in Birmingham with great success.

Dawn Nash is piloting patient appointment reminders in Birmingham with great success.

Our frontline staff are extremely hard working and it’s always a pleasure to see and hear about the great work that’s being done to improve services for patients and customers. One example of this that recently caught my eye, was the work that one of our Birmingham receptionist’s Dawn Nash is coordinating. Dawn is so determined to help patients keep to their appointments that she has designed and created a unique appointment reminder, which is being tested in the health centres she works in. As facilities management experts, our role is to ensure our building environments meet the needs of patients, staff and visitors and Dawn has exceeded this by introducing an idea that could potentially be rolled out across a variety of NHS sites. You can read more about the project at – Caring receptionist pioneers prototype appointment reminders for patients

I’d also like to draw attention to the FM team at Houghton Primary Care Centre in Durham, who continuously receive praise from customers and patients. A local patient, Mrs Smith, recently contacted the company to compliment the reception, caretaking and domestic staff for an excellent service and was impressed by how well maintained the centre was. Great feedback, so well done to you all.

We’re now into August and it was great to mark the start of the month with the announcement of an exciting project with DisabledGo, a not for profit social enterprise that works across the UK to tackle social isolation and inequality through better information provision. We are working with the organisation on a six-month pilot project to produce access guides and advice for 30 of our properties. Each of the 30 sites will be visited by a member of the company’s surveying team during August and September to collect detailed information about the main public areas. DisabledGo

Stuart Hammerton, Head of Safety and Mary Morgan, Area Safety Manager for the West Midlands have spearheaded this project, which will provide accessibly guides for 30 of our properties that are based across England. To learn more about the project and view the sites that are being assessed, see – New accessibility project underway at NHS Property Services