Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



The small steps that make a big difference

The facilities team at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) was a finalist in the 2018 HEFMA awards in the Team of the Year category.


Led by Head of Facilities, Lisa Grandcourt, the team has made a series of changes across its service to improve quality, safety and efficiency to the benefit of patients, staff and carers at RDaSH. The programme is ongoing.


The team has taken a ‘marginal gains’ approach, so rather than focusing on just one substantial project has targeted manageable change in several areas.



The team identified a need to ensure the laundry service provides value for money and is sustainable. 


The team promoted its services at local business networking events, in community magazines, poster campaigns, local residential area mail shots and direct marketing. This generated new customers, including hotels, the local airport, restaurants, the deaf school and hospices. 


This income generation programme has enabled the service to offer an increased discount to NHS staff. Staff can drop their personal laundry off on site between 7am and 3pm Monday to Friday, and collect it the following day. The team also provides a laundry service to residents in the local community. 


Walnut Lodge Print Services

The team wanted to raise the profile of its in-house print services as the NHS moves to a 'paper-light' process to reduce waste, cost and increase safety.


The team worked with admin colleagues to highlight their printing costs using the ‘uni-flow secure printers’, compared to sending large print jobs to the print room. By using the Walnut Lodge print services a saving of £840 was calculated on team printing costs. 


Raising awareness of printing costs not only results in a reduction in the cost of print and paper, but also the labour costs associated with the vast range of print jobs: for instance, the time spent dealing with a paper jam on the printer, printer failure, engineer calls, time wasted in queues to use the printer, time taken collating, stapling, hole-punching and binding the printed material. The time saved enabled admin staff to concentrate on other duties. 



The catering team sourced quality raw ingredients to produce superior meals for patients, staff, and visitors. 


The team wanted patients, carers and staff to experience the best dining experience when eating the meals produced in its on-site central production unit. They spent time listening to patients and staff who wanted to eat lean, reduced fat and nutritious meals as part of their own healthy eating plans, which can often be affected at times of high stress. 


The team engaged with and listened to the cooks who prepare and cook the hot menu dishes and whose experience was of cooking with ‘value’ cuts of meat. ‘Value’ mince means more fat in the dish, which needs to be drained off - although it is still evident - and results in a poorer quality end product and more waste. 


The team spoke to local suppliers to see what options were available to them and at what price, resulting in a product shift to local Yorkshire beef which has less fat content and a higher percentage yield.


This initiative also led to more focus on cost savings by other team members: teacake supplies and packaging have changed to yield £1,200 savings per year, £520 was saved by changing the supplier of fruit and £300 per annum by changing the supplier of yoghurts. 



The domestic team improved cleanliness and achieved £35,000 savings! 


The team introduced centralised waste collection/recycling points in key areas within buildings, changed working practices by introducing a daily team clean and two-weekly full office cleans. As part of the new cleaning schedules, domestic services no longer empty individual waste bins from under office desks. Office staff are required to dispose of their office waste on a daily basis, in one of the centralised bins for recycling. 


This has improved the quality of cleaning, as demonstrated via cleaning audit results and staff and patient feedback. The team have reduced the number of ‘lone workers’ on site which has increased safety. The changes to working practices have brought savings of £35,000 and retained all team members, meaning no job losses. 


Additional benefits for domestic services include reducing the amount of repetitive manual handling for the team, as they are no longer required to bend/stoop and lift waste bins from under every desk. By introducing designated recycling points, the team have also promoted good practice for paper, plastics, and general waste (including food waste) to be segregated at source. 


Healthy choices

The team is helping staff and visitors to eat more healthily! 


The NHS has a social responsibility to promote healthy eating choices to staff, patients and visitors. The need for this was outlined in the Five Year Forward View and it is a target RDaSH and many other NHS hospitals nationally are obliged to achieve. 


The team reviewed hospital shop stock and found that the items stored were weighted more towards unhealthy options. They launched 'Free Fruit Friday', which ensures that free fruit is available in the café each Friday when someone purchases a main meal. 


Other changes: 

• Price promotions on food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) have been stopped 

• Advertising of HFSS has been stopped across all premises 

• In hospital shops and catering outlets, 80% of drink lines stocked are now sugar free, 80% of confectionery does not exceed 250 calories and approximately 75% of pre-packed sandwiches contain 400 calories or less and don't exceed 5g of saturated fat per 100g 

• Everything in moderation - so small snacks such as chocolate bars are available, but large bars of chocolate are not retailed at promotional offer price. 


Coffee lounge

Developing and opening 'Well Bean' Coffee Lounge and shop that supports healthy lifestyle choices, volunteer opportunities and also opportunities for creative joint working. 


The Trust's café and shop were running at a significant financial loss and were not sustainable in their current form. When the team consulted staff and patients who use these facilities, they identified the branding was partly responsible for this. The team took responsibility for modernising the café and shop and at the same time provided educational pathways for volunteers. 


They held an engagement event at which several different suggestions for branding were made. The catering department reviewed what products it ordered for the retail catering outlets and in partnership with the gift shop agreed on a uniform approach for purchasing food, snacks and beverages. 


The team have also increased volunteer opportunities helping people to gain work experience and subsequent employment. The team co-produced the changes, resulting in a positive engaging space, with increased café footfall and an ethos that is more closely aligned with Trust values. Very proudly, one of the café volunteers was shortlisted for the Trust volunteer of the year. 



Reducing cost, increasing space and reducing waste in the facilities services. 


The team focused on encouraging people to think differently about the resources and equipment around them by creating a network where staff can procure secondhand equipment/furniture for free so that buying new is the last resort and nothing is wasted.


As buildings change use or close down, the Trust is left with a vast amount of unwanted furniture, equipment and stationery. These items are either sent for waste disposal, or are put in storage for months if not years. As people relocate to different offices they often put purchase orders in for new desks, chairs, storage units and more, without realising what is already in storage. 


'WARP-IT' was introduced in April 2017 in partnership with the Purchasing Department. This simple online solution has already resulted in a vast amount of savings for the Trust. Departments that have unwanted items can upload a photo of the item and a brief description, and anyone within the Trust who is looking for that item can make a claim on it. Claims are free as the items are being reused. 


The Trust saves on disposal costs as well as the cost of purchasing an otherwise new item. In just two months the Trust saved over £8,550 on purchasing costs, avoided waste costs on over 1,547kg of unwanted furniture and equipment and saved over 3656kg of co2. 



This team has been recognised, not for one outstanding issue, but the excellent work they do every day and the changes that all members of the team make to enhance the services they provide. The team also invest in volunteers who have differing levels of abilities, they give generously to charities and they also pride themselves in providing excellent patient-centred work.