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Trust pioneers time-saving lock technology

A trust in Lincolnshire has become the first in the country to introduce a new locking system that it claims saves nurses’ time as well as improving medicine security.

An £80,000 electromechanical locking system is being rolled out across Scunthorpe General Hospital and Grimsby’s Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, which are run by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The introduction of the ABLOY CLIQ remote system on 20 wards follows a trial at Scunthorpe hospital, which showed the system saved nurses’ time, according to the trust.

Karen Roe, trust lead nurse for medicine management, said the technology would replace the “traditional bulky bunch of keys which is passed between members of staff on a ward.”

An “intelligent key” is assigned to staff at the start of their shift. Because it is electronic it allows for a computer generated audit trail to be created detailing who the key is assigned to, which cupboard they opened and when and how long it was open for.

Ms Roe said: “It not only reduces the time spent looking for the bunch of keys but it also means cupboards are not accidentally left unlocked and that only authorised people access them.”

Mike Urwin, trust clinical director of pharmacy and medicines management, said: “The system promotes responsibility, releases nurses time to care and if a key is lost there is no need to replace all of the locks anymore as the key can simply be disabled.”

He said the trial had shown that on average 40 to 45 minutes were wasted on each daytime shift with staff trying to locate the bunch of keys – equating to 250 minutes lost on a typical ward every day.

Mr Urwin added: “By introducing the intelligent key system across our wards and departments we estimate it would have the same effect as having an extra 24 nurses on duty trust-wide every day.”

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Readers' comments (4)

  • George Kuchanny

    Nice bit of innovation - and an improvement in safety. Good audit trail as a bonus. I start losing the plot at about ten keys so I empathise with all who have to drag around possibly up to a kilo of janglers. Jailor or medic is the wry thought.

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  • Nice idea - but why are cupboards positioned so high that staff need to stretch to reach the locks? Why cannot the lock be positioned near the bottom of door or the cupboard set far lower?
    When we all start working to 68yrs old many nurses will not be stretch without pain in the shoulder joint, a step stool is not the answer for everyday repetitive work. An ergonomic solution is required urgently.

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  • linda burgess | 31-Aug-2013 11:48 am

    quite right and step stools are not a safe option also smaller people may not be able to reach comfortably, and apart from painful joints people also tend to shrink with age.

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  • Excellant innvation however the cupboards look to high.More thought needed to be given to this.

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