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Medequip News

See below for the latest news from Medequip. For upcoming events, please visit our Events Calendar page.

For any media enquiries please contact us at pressoffice@medequip-uk.com.

Date:

Medequip awarded Cornwall Community Equipment Loan Service contract

Medequip awarded Cornwall Community Equipment Loan Service contract

Medequip, the UK's leading provider of Community Equipment Services, is proud to announce that it has been awarded the Cornwall Community Equipment Loan Service contract by Cornwall Council.

The new service, jointly funded by Cornwall Council and NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board (ICB), will commence on 1 October 2024. Its core focus is on enhancing the lives of the community in Cornwall, including the Isles of Scilly, by keeping people independent.

The service will support children and adults who have been assessed by a Health or Social Care Prescriber as requiring specific equipment, with Medequip providing the equipment on loan. Medequip understands that receiving the right equipment at the right time is crucial to the wellbeing of individuals and is committed to providing safe and fully functional equipment that meets their needs.

Medequip has demonstrated its commitment by seamlessly integrating the Out of Hours provision within its South-West region operations early. As of 1 May 2024, Medequip has taken on this element of the current Community Equipment Loan Service, facilitating the delivery and installation of equipment beyond standard operating hours and ensuring that residents receive timely support when they need it most.

Michaela Harris, General Manager at Medequip, explains, "We are excited to work with our new partners and work closely with Prescribers to deliver a service that keeps people independent. We understand the importance of empowering individuals to live the life they deserve, and our South West Regional Team, supported by Medequip’s wider support functions, is fully prepared and eager to implement this vital service. We are committed to ensuring that every individual receives the appropriate equipment they need to live a fulfilling life."

Cornwall Council cabinet member for adult social care and public health Andy Virr said: “Our new partnership will help us to build on the existing provision and develop and integrate additional services so that we have more innovative ways to support people to live independently in their own homes.

“We are doing all we can to help people live in vibrant, safe, supportive communities where people help each other to live well and this new partnership will help us reach that outcome for more of Cornwall’s residents.”

Kate Shields, Chief Executive, NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board, said: “We are looking forward to working with Medequip to ensure our residents have the equipment they need, in a timely manner, to support their health and wellbeing and enable them to live as independently as possible.”

The scope of service is vast, and it includes not only the supply of equipment but also the delivery and installation, repair, maintenance, collection and recycling. Medequip will ensure that the equipment procured represents the best value in terms of functionality, quality, cost, environmental sustainability and recyclability.

Medequip’s long-term carbon reduction and net-zero plan align with Cornwall Council's mission to create a carbon-neutral Cornwall, ‘where everyone can start well, live well, and age well in a cleaner, greener environment.’

Medequip understands that change can bring uncertainty, but with a proven track record and experience in implementing new services throughout the UK, Cornwall residents can be assured that Medequip is dedicated to ensuring a seamless transition and will maintain the high standard of service expected, providing uninterrupted access to the vital equipment needed. This will be done with improved processes, increased equipment availability, and a commitment to delivery efficiencies across the whole county, ensuring that the equipment required reaches people faster and more reliably than ever before.

Medequip is also dedicated to continuous improvement and listening to the views of people with lived experience to help shape the service of the future.

Date:

David Griffiths: Who is driving?

David Griffiths

I was listening to the radio the other day and heard them talking about the exploratory space thingamajig, Voyager One.

Still travelling at some ridiculous speed through interstellar space, while people on earth are trying valiantly to send it coded instructions to compensate for a malfunction in order that it can send back meaningful data to help us understand the universe.
And I was left wondering who is driving the thing.

The background

Back on earth I’m still collecting my own data to help me and the team at Medequip to work out what’s the direction of travel for the equally complex system of health and social care provision and who, or what, is driving it.

So, I started at the top. Maybe I am being unkind, but apart from the “pressures”, by which I think they mean people, and the money, and more commitments to “sort things out”, none of the main parties seem to have much to say on health and social care.

Local Authorities are supposed to use Market Position Statements and pre-tender market engagement events to communicate their priorities and intentions with the market of providers who are needed to provide the day to day support to people.

Strategies, vision statements, position papers and the like, together with their supporting plans, are also often positioned as “opportunities to get involved” and are supposed to set out a clear destination, and a practical route to get there.

For a large organisation like Medequip there needs to be a clear sense of direction, but as a conscientious user of public funding, how much time can my team spend in different public sector meetings, especially when there seems to be so much inconsistency?

Despite the vision and call to arms in the ADASS Time to Act report, for every Community Equipment, Technology Enabled Care or Wheelchair service specification that references the work and vision of Social Care Futures there are several more that start with reference to an existing or potential Section 114 notice or a more general note on the parlous state of a Local Authority financial position.

The amount and quality of involvement of people who use services varies greatly too.
I have been very public in talking about Medequip’s work in this area being “early stage” but I naively expected any organisation with a statutory duty under the Care Act 2014 to be well and truly committed.

So, I am left trying to explain to the Medequip Board and the owners why it is so important that we continue to involve people and the local communities, and whether the Local Authorities and NHS will want a few large distribution centres, basic equipment and technology and a high degree of standardisation?

Or if, as some commentators suggest, the future is about personalised services and equipment, local connections and small community organisations?

Will there be a continuation of the trend to outsource services, will they be taken back in-house, or is the future about new arrangements and partnerships between statutory organisations, private sector providers, community organisations and the people who use services?

I don’t suppose I will ever find “the” answer, and I suspect, as with most questions about complex systems, it depends on who you ask, what and when you ask, and just as importantly what you want to hear.

I would like to think I am known as a generally optimistic character, and I certainly don’t want to be the guy who says “Houston, we have a problem”.

So, I promise to let you know if I find out who or what is driving social care and the NHS and in the meantime Medequip and I will work with the different points of view to find the best solutions we can.

Unlike Voyager One, we might not be navigating the frontiers of known knowledge, but sometimes it can feel exactly like that.

Date:

Focus on Patient Safety: Meeting The Latest MHRA Standards

Patient Safety Alert

From 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2022, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency received 18 reports of deaths related to medical beds, bed rails, trolleys, bariatric beds, lateral turning devices and bed grab handles, and 54 reports of serious injuries.

The background

Most of these occurred in community care settings, including domestic settings and nursing homes, as well as acute (hospital) environments. With chest or neck entrapment in bed rails listed by the NHS in 2018 as a ‘Never Event’ (incidents that require investigation under the Serious Incident framework), the MHRA circulated new guidance in August 2023 scheduled for implementation on 1 March 2024.

The MHRA raised this issue as a serious patient alert to change practice, with the focus on patient safety, resulting in far reaching requirements in terms of policy, product information and selection, servicing, information and risk assessments.

The objective is to ensure that these ”serious , largely preventable patient safety incidents … should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented by healthcare providers”. Bed rails: management and safe use - GOV.UK

The Medequip team response

On publication of the guidelines back in August, the Medequip team immediately swung into action to see how they could help, communicating with contracts across the country to address the actions required to ensure compliance with the safety alert. Medequip’s immediate responsibilities within the alert focused on equipment data, compliance, updating policies and staff training; as well as providing guidance, assurances and support, using a wealth of best practice knowledge collected from the national team.

“The majority of our contracts already had robust risk assessments in place for bed rails, following updates to earlier guidelines established in 2018, with good systems already established in terms of correct policies and frameworks,” explained Fiona Wasdell-Bowyer, who heads up Medequip’s growing team of occupational therapists working closely with clinicians and commissioners across the UK. “The extra challenge has been to incorporate the use of grab rails, bed levers and other equipment, tightening up on compliance, training, understanding and awareness.”

After consulting with the MHRA for initial clarification, the Medequip team also reached out to manufacturers of equipment for updates and compliance assurances at manufacturer/supplier level. Medequip has held, and continues to hold, meetings with contracts with detailed communications and offers of support, bringing in Medequip’s experienced procurement, clinical and SHEQ teams.

The practical issues

With a wealth of knowledge and experience around the fitting and use of this type of equipment, Medequip has compiled a comprehensive bed lever guide to accompany its existing publications on the safe use of bedrails. This guide includes fitting instructions, user guidance, and a pictorial suitability matrix showing different types of bed and the appropriate equipment for use with each.

Alongside this information, Medequip has also produced a detailed measurement guide illustrating vital issues like potential entrapment gaps, as well as a usage guide and full examples of appropriate risk assessments.

Combined with practical assistance like placing physical stickers on all relevant equipment identifying entrapment risks to provide an important visual reminder for families and carers and making additional information cards available to all contracts, Medequip has put robust support in place to reinforce the requirements of the latest MHRA guidelines. Trusted assessor training modules have also been updated to comply with MHRA guidelines and shared widely.

“It is a challenging situation for us and all our contract partners,” confirmed Fiona. “These guidelines require changes to policies, training, reviewing device inventories, implementing documented servicing and maintenance schedules, together with new requirements for contracts around conducting priority reviews for certain patients, risk assessments and regular reviews. In the current climate where budgets and resources are stretched to the limit, these are pressing issues, which are vital for patient safety.”

Future actions

In support of the new guidelines, Medequip continues to supplement the clinical section on its website, ensuring information for prescribers is as accurate and complete as possible. Video and more shareable content are in preparation and will be added to this resource in the near future.

The alert references the need for initial and update risk assessments and ongoing reviews for all those using this equipment in the community, particularly where the equipment or the patient’s clinical condition has changed, as well as at regular intervals.

This presents a massive challenge to resources in the current climate for contracts, requiring thousands of individual risk assessments and ongoing reviews over time. Medequip continues to offer support to contracts across the UK, with the option to provide trained and competent staff to assist with this body of work.

Date:

Medequip Bedford Depot Grand Opening

Medequip Bedford Grand Opening. Mayor of Bedford, Tom Wootton with David Griffiths, Medequip

Medequip is pleased to announce the official grand opening of their Bedford depot, which took place on Thursday 16 May 2024. This event marks the successful launch of the Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes Community Equipment Service, which commenced on 1 April 2024.

Bedford Brass Plaque

The ceremony was attended by several distinguished guests, including the Mayor of Bedford, Tom Wootton, Councillor Martin Towler (Portfolio Holder for Health, Public Health, and Wellbeing), Councillor Robert Rigby (Portfolio Holder for Adult Services), and Kate Walker, Director of Adults' Services at Bedford Borough Council. Despite the rain, the event was a resounding success, filled with bright spirits and enthusiasm.

mayor-and-councillors

Guests were given a comprehensive tour of the depot, showcasing the crucial work Medequip undertakes to maintain the independence of the people in Bedford and the surrounding areas of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. The tour provided an in-depth look into the daily operations, from procurement and storage to equipment cleaning, repair, and safety checks. It also highlighted the process of how equipment is handled once prescribed and ordered by a Health or Social Care Professional.

Bedford depot tour lead by Michaela Harris

The day also included a tour of Medequip’s exhibition roadshow vehicle, which serves as a mobile beacon of support and information, travelling to various locations to promote the company's services. This signifies the company's dedication to accessibility, community engagement and the proactive sharing of valuable information and advice.

Medequip Exhibition Unit

Mayor Tom Wotton and David Griffiths, Managing Director at Medequip, ceremonially cut the ribbon at the official opening.

Mayor Tom Wootton said: “Thank you for choosing Bedford and coming to Bedford. This [service] is really important because everyone gets to that time of life – our grandparents, mothers, fathers and ourselves will eventually need this equipment. It is great to see how much care and attention to detail there was today. It’s a great pleasure having you in Bedford and having Medequp here for many years to come.”

Michaela Harris, General Manager at Medequip, expressed her gratitude and pride in the success of the grand opening: "We are immensely proud of what we have achieved here at Medequip Bedford. This would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in implementing the new service. Thank you to all who contributed to making this grand opening a success."

Date:

Medequip Connect opens new Sutton shop and hub

Medequip Connect - Sutton Shop ribbon cutting

Creating social value and making real contributions to the communities where the company operates continues to be an important focus for community equipment specialists Medequip.

Medequip Connect, the company’s Technology Enabled Care (TEC) arm, launched the Sutton TEC Service on 1 August 2023 in partnership with Sutton Council, supporting the health, independence and wellbeing of local residents.

Medequip Connect is contracted to provide a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week alarm monitoring, mobile responder and repairs and maintenance service for the Council. Sutton residents who are part of the Council’s independent living scheme supported by Sutton Housing Partnership are now benefiting from this new and innovative TEC equipment.

Alongside this contract, Medequip Connect has announced the official opening of a new care technology shop and Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Service Hub in Sutton. The first of its kind in South London, operated in partnership with Sutton Council and The Access Group (Technology Enabled Care), the Hub is dedicated to providing the latest equipment, digital solutions and informed advice to help local people remain independent in their own homes.

medequip-connect-equipment-demo

The Hub forms part of the Council’s ambitious plans to transform care for older people and those with health and wellbeing needs. The focus is on keeping people in the familiar surroundings of their own homes while continuing to provide the highest standards of care.

The concept of TEC is to use non-intrusive technology to monitor people’s wellbeing and identify early warning signs of decline. With the consent of each individual, this information is shared with professionals and carers to ensure support is provided when appropriate. Matched to individual needs, TEC helps to keep people safe and independent.

The Hub is designed to benefit residents already in the care of Sutton Council, as well as other individuals and their families looking for solutions to help them remain safe and independent in their own homes.

Councillor Marian James, Lead Member for People Services at the London Borough of Sutton said: “Research shows that people live well for longer when they can maintain their sense of independence and dignity by remaining in their own home. That’s why we are transforming our approach to care with the focus on using the latest digital technology to enable our residents to continue living independently within the comfort of their own home but with the peace of mind that support is available when they need it.

“The pressures facing our adult social care services show no sign of easing, so I’m proud the Council is taking this forward-thinking approach to find solutions that will reduce the pressure on the system, as well as being beneficial for our residents.”

Steve Tucker, Chief Executive of Sutton Housing Partnership said: “Making sure our residents can live well, feel safe and secure in their own home is a key priority for us. The upgrade of all equipment across our 23 supported living schemes, implemented by Medequip Connect, will ensure that we can confidently keep this promise to our residents and continue to provide a high-quality service.”

Rupert Lawrence, Head of Medequip Connect said: “Our innovative TEC service offer is now providing the residents of Sutton with an industry-leading approach to supporting health, independence, and wellbeing using assistive technologies. We plan to use this new contract as a benchmark for other services in the UK.”

Alex Nash, Head of Strategy at Access TEC continues, “technology has a vital part to play in allowing personalised care in the home. Enabling individuals to be safe, independent and comfortable in their own environment, while knowing their care needs are being looked after, is important for the individual, their family and loved ones involved in care delivery.”

Situated within the Sutton Council’s Civic Offices on St Nicholas Way, the new Sutton Hub is open Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm.

Date:

Shropshire Council Awards New Contract for Community Equipment Service

Medequip - Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin partners

The contract will provide a more integrated and efficient service for people who need equipment to support their independence and wellbeing.

Shropshire Council has announced that it has awarded a contract for the provision of a community equipment service to Medequip, following a competitive tender process.

The contract will start on 1 April 2024 and will run for five years, with options to extend for a further two, plus two years.

The new integrated Community Equipment Loan Service provides a wide range of equipment on loan for short periods, such as walking frames, hoists, beds, and cushions, to help people with health and social care needs to live independently at home and in the community.

The new contract will deliver an integrated service across the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care Board (ICB) area, in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council and the NHS ICB. This will enable a more streamlined and consistent service for clients and prescribers, as well as achieving economies of scale and shared management costs.

The contract will also include initiatives to reuse and recycle equipment, reducing waste and environmental impact, and to use technology to improve customer service and data quality.

Councillor Cecilia Motley, Cabinet Member for Adults Social Care and Public Health, said:

"We are delighted to award this contract to Medequip, who have demonstrated their experience and expertise in delivering community equipment services across the country. This contract will provide a high-quality, person-centred service that will support people to stay healthy and independent for longer, and prevent or reduce the need for more intensive health and care support."

"This contract is also a great example of partnership working, as we have collaborated with our colleagues in Telford & Wrekin Council and the NHS ICB to commission a service that meets the needs of our local population and achieves value for money for all partners."

Councillor Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Systems at Telford & Wrekin Council said:

"It’s been excellent to be a part of this collaborative process with Shropshire Council and NHS Integrated Care Board seeking to provide a high quality community equipment service for our residents.

“As a new partnership we are excited to have appointed Medequip to deliver this provision. We are so pleased that Medequip have based themselves within Telford, improving our opportunities for collaborative working for a better service.

“We look forward to working with our new partners and Medequip to deliver equipment services that will help people to live happier, healthier and more independent lives in their own homes.”

Neil Thacker, Regional General Manager at Medequip, looks forward to the future, saying,

"On behalf of myself and the team at Medequip, we are eager to work closely with our partners, support Prescribers, and enable residents to maintain their independence. Medequip is eager to collaborate with community organisations and the Independent Living Centre in Telford to continue to build a supportive environment that aligns with the vision of 'Shropshire living the best life’.”

For more information about the Community Equipment Loan Service visit www.medequip-uk.com/contact/shropshire.

Date:

Medequip Connect Strengthens Management Team

Medequip Connect - Rupert Lawrence

Medequip Connect continues to build on strong foundations for its holistic model of technology enabled care (TEC) with the appointment of Rupert Lawrence to head up the business.

Rupert assumes responsibility for operational and strategic direction at the fast-growing TEC company, which is part of community equipment specialist Medequip Assistive Technology Ltd.

He joins an experienced management team at Medequip Connect and will work alongside Stephen McKee who heads up Business Development for the company and continues to play a role in strategic direction.

Rupert’s career in TEC spans almost two decades. His commitment to the sector began back in 2007 when he took up a business development role for a TEC provider with a monitoring service, growing the business substantially and expanding their TSA (TEC Services Association Quality Standards Framework) scope to cover installation, maintenance and responder services.

In 2015, he moved to head up Worcestershire Telecare, successfully developing the service from a traditional provider into a forward-thinking and innovative outcomes-focused TEC business, reflecting his own ethos and approach. Under his guidance, a new brand was launched and the business almost doubled in size.

In 2019, Rupert was elected by his peers to serve as a Non-Executive Director for England on the board of the TSA, moving to a full-time role as Operations Director in 2021.

Rupert joins as Head of Medequip Connect with overall operational and strategic responsibility for TEC services, heading up this quality-focused business providing a comprehensive range of services covering referral, installation, maintenance, monitoring and responder services.

At Medequip Connect, we’re committed to supporting the social care infrastructure in the UK, achieving great outcomes for the people who use our services, commissioners, carers, families and the wider community, stated Rupert. I am relishing the opportunity to help develop the business to be one of the leading providers of TEC in the UK, on the journey to delivering proactive and preventative TEC that can really improve lives.

Date:

Project Scope – Medequip Targets Net Zero by 2030

Project Scope – Medequip Targets Net Zero by 2030

Medequip Assistive Technology has announced its commitment to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2030 with the launch of the company’s ambitious Project Scope decarbonisation plan. The objective is ten years ahead of the official government target.

Medequip launched its first Environmental Policy back in 2019, outlining the company’s commitment to minimising the negative impacts of its commercial activities. The overarching Project Scope will take in every aspect of business operations aimed at removing CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

The cross-business initiative is headed up by Project Sponsor Operations and Commercial Director Andrew Firth. “We have been working on sustainability and decarbonisation goals for some years now,” stated Andrew. “As a result, we fully anticipate being able to achieve our ambitious targets now we have established a firm baseline. We have aligned with our parent company Medux in our efforts, and this forms an essential part of the strategy that we are responsible for delivering.”

Work began in earnest in 2023 supported by a cross business team, engaging general managers and carrying out detailed property surveys. Decarbonisation quarterly update meetings, internal stakeholder meetings and a customer communications campaign are all scheduled to map out the route towards Net Zero by 2030.

Medequip has already taken significant steps on the road to decarbonisation, including minimising energy consumption across the depots by a life cycle assessment and the introduction of improved energy optimisation routing and processes.

  • The company has already launched a hybrid approach to working for a significant percentage of staff, successfully reducing carbon generated by employees commuting activities
  • In addition, a hybrid approach to board and committee meetings means less carbon is already generated by governance activities
  • Between January 2021 and December 2022, Medequip facilitated the recycling and reuse of almost 2.3M tons of community equipment and is already CO2 negative in terms metal waste
  • Energy efficient lighting has been installed in all depots
  • Electricity is now sourced from 100% renewable energy, via solar or wind turbines
  • All new sites occupied by the company have EPC A or B ratings
  • Medequip is currently transitioning to electric vehicles across the fleet
  • The company has developed an environmental e-learning module to advise and educate the workforce, and supported a ‘cycle to work’ scheme.

In addition, a ‘Big Switch Off’ Campaign running across the depots in 2024 is targeting a further 3% energy reduction.

Richard Mclean, responsible for Business Improvement at Medequip, outlined the plans to achieve Medequip’s goals. “We are currently gathering data on our Scope 3 emissions to ensure we have a robust baseline upon which to build our reduction targets, and have put in place interim targets to enable us to monitor progress and ensure we are on track to achieve our goal of Net Zero by 2030,” he stated.

Further significant investments to achieve the ‘Ideal Depot’ will include solar panel installations, swapping out gas boilers for electric and the installation of electric pressure washers in cleaning departments across the estate.

For Medequip, decarbonisation goes hand in hand with social responsibility. “We will continue with our ongoing commitment to a return, recycle and reuse policy,” explained Michaela Harris. “Our budget for tree planting will further offset our carbon emissions, and our connections with overseas charities ensure we optimise reuse of equipment to achieve positive results.”

Into the future, Medequip plans to use carbon capture and offsetting to help achieve the company’s environmental ambitions, and will require suppliers to confirm their commitment to the government target of Net Zero by 2050.

Date:

Medequip Connect at ITEC 2024

Medequip Connect at ITEC 2024

Medequip Connect is busy gearing up for this year’s ITEC Conference (International Technology Enabled Care), entitled ‘Empowering People’s Lives: Transforming Futures Through Knowledge, Innovation and Action’.

Organised by the TSA, the industry and advisory body for technology enabled care (TEC) in the UK, this two-day event focuses on helping social care, housing, health and TEC professionals to deliver proactive and preventative digital services.

This will be Medequip Connect’s biggest ITEC yet; they are hosting guests from key contracts and will attend with a delegation of 30 including staff. The team will also use the opportunity to carry out a detailed survey amongst visitors to the stand focused around plans for the digital switchover and the proposed move to a more proactive preventative service model for local authorities.

It's been a busy six months for Medequip Connect, and the service now monitors more than 40,000 connections.

In addition to this, the company has won a significant new contract in Derbyshire which will add a further 4,500 connections, as well as retaining the existing contract for the Wirral, totalling 5000 connections.

Date:

Medequip Adopts Biotech Cleaning Products Across the Estate

Medequip Adopts Biotech Cleaning Products Across the Estate

Cleaning and decontamination is an essential part of the work carried out across Medequip depots, a vital step in the ‘recycle and reuse’ community equipment process. As part of the organisation’s stated drive towards Net Zero, Medequip’s procurement team has completed a project to identify new products to enable the company to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals in their day-to-day operational procedures.

The BioHygiene range provided an excellent match to meet Medequip’s requirements. The leading biotech brand in the UK, BioHygiene provides a comprehensive range of cleaning products designed around ecotechnology with the focus on environmental protection.

Biotechnology products use microbes, enzymes and natural plant extracts to provide powerful cleaning capabilities, working deep into surfaces to remove dirt and grease. In addition to the ecological benefits, biotech cleaning can be more effective as well as being easier to use than traditional chemical cleaning products.

Medequip and BioHygiene carried out extensive product trials at Medequip depots across the UK to assess the performance and potential for the biotech products. Following the successful conclusion of the trial, BioHygiene products will be rolled out across the Medequip estate, with the implementation process completed by the end of Q1 this year, supported by training for Medequip personnel in the use and handling of the products.

“BioHygiene are providing us with environmentally sound products giving us the proven cleaning capabilities we require, alongside improved ease of use and safety for our people handling these materials every day,” stated Mike West, procurement director for Medequip. “We are committed to the use of ethical products in our operational procedures, and adopting BioHygiene products enables us to contribute to sustainability as well as ensuring we maintain the highest standards of cleanliness for the people who use our equipment.”

BioHygiene products used by Medequip include surface and floor cleaners, washroom cleaners, all purpose sanitisers, odour neutralisers, urinal and toilet cleaners, gum, mark and graffiti removers, laundry detergents and destainers.

Date:

Making Time for Time

Making Time for Time

How do we make time?

The short answer is we can’t. We can only use it.

But I think there are a couple of things that can help.

We can make better decisions on how we use it, and we can be sensitive to the fact that time moves differently for each of us.

Now, I am no time-management guru, so I’ll leave that topic for others.

But I saw the news headline last week about people who need NHS funded care and support and who are often affected not just by cuts in funding, but by delays in decision-making - Families of disabled people tell BBC of battle for NHS care support - BBC News

I also remember one of our equipment suppliers telling me that they had worked much harder to reduce their production times for personalised equipment needed for young children, when they were confronted with the reality of reduced life expectancy.

Medequip takes pride in meeting key performance indicators for meeting the delivery speeds for community equipment. We know that delivering equipment quickly can make a difference to when someone is discharged from hospital, or prevented from being admitted in the first place.

But, in response to feedback from people who use equipment, we are also looking at convenience, as well as speed. If you need someone to help you receive a delivery, or you need to avoid a clash with other care tasks, the option to choose a time may be more important to you.

One of my team recently attended a Social Care Future gathering looking at the “plumbing and wiring” of social care that makes it harder to achieve the Social Care Future vision. A lot of Local Authority staff reported that time pressures and a lack of capacity mean they find it difficult to cope with all they are expected to do.

I can tell you, people working in voluntary and private sector organisations are feeling the same way.

But waving our pressures and deadlines at each other is not a good look.

Instead, I suggest we consider how time is moving from the point of view of people who draw on care and their families.

Whether that means a community equipment provider considering convenience as well as speed. A funding panel looking at how it makes decisions, or a procurement team shortening a process to get a new service in place.

Sometimes we hear organisations and systems can only move at the speed of trust. Maybe from one perspective that is true. But when you next get the chance, don’t just ask someone for the time, ask them about their time.

Date:

Bringing the Human Face of Community Equipment Services to Life in York

Bringing the Human Face of Community Equipment Services to Life in York

Understanding the role that community equipment services play in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society is a really important issue for the people who work at Medequip and deliver the goods, day in and day out. Co-production and cooperation play a vital role in helping to train Medequip people to provide the best possible service across our CES contracts.

So it was a landmark moment when local care assistant Ceiri suggested that one of the people she supported could drive this commitment forward by coming to visit Medequip’s York depot with her six-year-old son Evan who has profound disabilities, to share her experiences of relying on community equipment services to achieve the best quality of life for Evan.

Evan is a SWAN (Syndrome Without A Name) and is currently undiagnosed. To many this would seem rare, but it is actually very common and many families are affected by having an undiagnosed family member. He is non-verbal and requires assistance with every aspect of daily life, but according to York’s Logistics Manager Bruce Holroyd he has the best smile in the world!

Evan’s mum Louise is totally committed to providing Evan with a full and rewarding life. Amazingly, Louise and her partner Richard both work full time alongside caring for Evan, they have minimal help from a team of carers and a place at a special school as well as a plethora of specialist equipment provided by Medequip.

“It’s not just a question of one-off supply of items like chairs, hoists, specialist beds and rise and fall bathing aids, where the family enjoys great support from local authority. Evan is a growing boy, so his needs are constantly changing as he outgrows equipment,” confirmed Bruce. “So our Medequip technicians are frequent visitors to the family’s home to deliver and collect items of equipment.”

The team at Medequip’s York depot was extremely grateful to Louise and Evan for coming to visit to outline how vital community equipment services are in their lives. It was a really important opportunity for Medequip staff, including technicians and the cleaning team, to understand what life

Date:

All Change at Heathrow

All Change at Heathrow

It’s all change at our Heathrow depot in Harmondsworth, West Drayton, with significant investment underway which is scheduled for completion by the end of this month.

Heathrow differs from other Medequip depots in that it also houses our Head Office. Here, a total refurbishment is in the process of transforming the facilities, incorporating important elements like LED lighting throughout and new, efficient air conditioning system to improve comfort in the building.

It’s a significant move as these premises are not only used by Medequip staff but also by personnel from the contracts managed out of Heathrow, providing community equipment services for people in the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Kingston-upon-Thames.

“Dear Medequip, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks from the service user's husband. He was incredibly grateful for the expertise of the technician that delivered the equipment and completed the rail installation. Please send them his compliments.”

“Client asked me to feedback on her behalf. Client extremely happy with her new mopstick rails, she is now able to mobilise on the stairs safely. Good workmanship, rails installed in a timely manner. Thank you”

“Thank you for all your help and support. Very polite, professional and extremely helpful.”

“Good Morning, I have been asked by family to pass a compliment to the Medequip Technician, to say a big thank you, how positive and helpful he was and how kind and nice he was. Can you please pass this on to Imran Many thanks”

Our boardroom is regularly used by suppliers training on new products and by OTs for a range of uses, from manual handling through to practical training opportunities. In addition, our own Training Centre of Excellence is located here and is used by ourselves and representatives from our contracts on a regular basis. Having facilities and easy parking on site makes the depot an attractive proposition for our partners across the region.

There are upgrades for the depot facilities too with the addition of six additional charging points for electric vehicles, one of which is a 54Kw charger capable of charging two vans. With 25% of the fleet operating from the Heathrow already electrified and plans to increase this further over the next 12 months, this was an important consideration.

“Medequip believes in forging close relationships with our contracts and also encouraging the sharing of information, knowledge and best practices across all our community equipment services contracts,” stated Pete Adamson for Medequip. “Our refurbished premises and facilities will continue to be available and provide improved opportunities for shared use.”

Adding social value is also an important part of day-to-day life in Heathrow depot. The depot staff have had an ongoing relationship with a local care home in Feltham, Hounslow, where they offer ‘handyman’ services as part of the Medequip volunteering programme.

A new initiative has been set up with Storehouse Riverside Vineyard, a Christan church, where their Compassion Centre houses a foodbank which is currently experiencing high levels of demand. The staff at Heathrow have been collecting non-perishable and household products for the organisation, and will also offer volunteering hours to help out.

Add to that toy collections for a local school, fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society and part of the Medequip commitment and also collecting and transporting used items of community equipment for Belief in Action, a charity which sends vital and often life-changing equipment out to Romania and has partnered with Medequip for many years, our people at Heathrow are kept very busy!

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Medequip Slipper Sourcing Services Support 'Sloppy Slippers' Shows

Sloppy Slippers roadshow

It’s well documented that falls are a major cause of hospitalisation and subsequent reduction in independence for more vulnerable members of society. The reason behind a fall can easily be something as preventable as ill-fitting footwear, and in particular worn or loose slippers in the home.

In a move to improve the safety and well-being of ageing adults in Somerset (which has one of the oldest populations in the country), NHS Somerset, in partnership with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP), has launched their ‘Sloppy Slippers’ campaign.

Data shows that around 24,000 over-65s in the UK suffer a fall annually due to sloppy slippers, with many ending up in hospital. SASP and NHS Somerset are delivering a number of roadshows across the Somerset area, where local people can visit, be measured and assessed and provided free of charge with properly fitted slippers.

It’s a cause close to Medequip’s heart, and when SASP made contact to request involvement, Medequip was delighted to take up the opportunity. The company’s specialist Falls Prevention Team continuously reiterates the importance of well-fitting footwear in the material they share with the many people using their services, so Medequip was eager to partner with NHS Somerset and SASP to provide support for this important initiative.

Medequip has been involved with the sourcing and purchase of superior quality slippers, guided by falls prevention specialist Julie Griffiths who advised on the correct selection of slippers to reduce the potential for falls.

“Loose, worn and poorly fitting slippers with a less supportive design like backless styles significantly increase the potential for slips, trips and falls around the home, which we know result in unplanned hospitalisations,” she explained. “The ‘Sloppy Slippers’ campaign is a perfect fit for Medequip, and we’re pleased to be able to support the initiative with professional advice and practical assistance in terms of procuring and funding the right slippers to assist NHS Somerset and SASP.”

Individuals, their families and carers are invited to visit the any of the roadshows, where they will be provided with the appropriate slippers in correct sizes to help them stay safe at home. Staff from SASP will also demonstrate simple strengthening exercises which can be done at home, as well as providing information on how to avoid falls and signposting to other useful Somerset-based resources and services. In addition, all the roadshows will be supported by Medequip’s Community Engagement and Partnership Manager, Clive Rymer.

The ‘Sloppy Slippers’ roadshows are already under way across Somerset and are proving extremely popular. “It’s a brilliant initiative which is helping many people to recognise the important of well-fitting footwear around the home,” stated Michaela Harris, General Manager for Medequip in the South West and Suffolk. “We would be very interested in getting involved with any other bodies who might be looking to organise similar events in their local areas.”

The "Sloppy Slippers" campaign is set to run until the end of March 2024, with several events planned across the county.

For more information on the campaign, including booking links for the roadshows, please visit bit.ly/sloppy-slippers

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The importance of integration and joint learning

Medequip attending the National Children and Adults Service conference in Bournemouth

As we approach the holiday period, I wanted to share a few thoughts after attending the National Children and Adults Service conference in Bournemouth and the Commissioners Conference in Alfreton.

Whilst both had different strap lines and focus, they also had much in common.

It was lovely to meet people we have been working with for some time, others who we are looking forward to working with in 2024, and some who just wanted to hear what Medequip has been doing, and how it might help them as they plan for the future of their services. It’s amazing how many people will stop for a chat if you are giving away cuddly soft toys.

Both conferences emphasised that in the moments when the system is short of time and money, there is even more reason to work alongside people who draw on care and support. Because it is only then that we can be sure we are spending what money there is, on what is important and what works.

Both conferences had a focus on integration and joint working between health and social care, and in both conferences I heard how difficult it can be finding the key influencers and leaders. All I can say to that is it’s even harder if people and systems keep you at arm’s length. Medequip have joined the #SocialCareFuture Big Connect, a community of practice of provider organisations that won’t settle for being described simply by the services they provide, but want to play their part in the wider community.

The most exciting things in Medequip happen where local people, local organisations and the NHS and Social Care, work together to find ways of trying new things, or find better ways to do things we have always done.

I had to do a bit of a double-take in Bournemouth when I turned up to find colleagues wearing spectacularly large underpants over their outfits. But now understand more than I did about the work of Camerados and Curators of Change. Two ways of looking at the world as much as they are organisations, and very willing role models for working together.

Keep an eye out for “public living rooms” at future Medequip events!

Both conferences heard from CQC about the plans for assurance of Adult Social Care, and although Medequip is not a registered service, please do reach out if we cover your area and I or my team can help in anyway with the preparation of your evidence file.

It can be a difficult time for some people over the holiday period, but the Medequip vans and responders will be out there and I’m ever hopeful that in 2024 we will all realise that we are better, stronger and more resilient together.

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Walking for Alzheimer's Society Across Britain's Beautiful Landscapes

Trek26

Co-production and community engagement have played an integral role in Medequip’s operational strategy for some years now. When the company was looking to form a long-term partnership with a registered charity in support of this approach, a poll taken amongst the Medequip workforce indicated Alzheimer’s Society was the preferred choice.

Statistics suggest that one in three people born in the UK today will develop dementia. Affiliation with Alzheimer’s Society not only matched the Medequip service demographic, but also reflected the personal associations of Medequip people, many of whom have family members and friends living with dementia.

Medequip has been raising money for the Society since pre-pandemic years, but this commitment stepped up to include more personal involvement in terms of time and commitment in 2022 when the company first began to support the Trek26 initiative. Trek26 is one of Alzheimer’s Society’s most popular events, with people taking part in a series of 13 and 26-mile treks in breath-taking locations across the UK to raise money for the charity. Money raised will go towards the charity’s vital services, which have been used over 6 million times in 2023. Funds will also go towards providing hope for the future by campaigning to make dementia the priority it should be and funding ground-breaking research.

Events like this require a significant amount of organisation and volunteer involvement. In 2023, Medequip people supported at each and every one of the eight events nationwide, providing assistance out on the route, at water stops, split points and at the finish line.

What began as a three-event initiative back in 2017 will see Trek26 cover ten events in 2024. In 2023, 7,355 trekkers raised the amazing sum of £4M plus, smashing original fundraising targets. For 2024, it is anticipated that 9,000 Trekkers will take part in ten locations around the UK, raising money to provide help and hope for the 900,000 people in the UK living with dementia.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone at Medequip, for volunteering their time at Trek26 events this year,” stated Megan Wilson, Bespoke Events Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Society. Their invaluable support helped 7355 trekkers cross the finish line and helped to raise crucial awareness of dementia, so we can work towards a world where dementia no longer devastates lives. Every penny raised from events like Trek26 will really help us continue to be a vital source of support and a powerful force for change for everyone affected by dementia.”

Michaela Harris

“We’re very proud to have gone bigger and better with Trek26 this year, using the Medequip-funded volunteering hours as well as our team’s own personal time, with eleven depots supporting eight events across the country,” said Michaela Harris, General Manager for Medequip South West and Suffolk. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to have worked with Alzheimer’s Society on event logistics and organisation, and we’re already looking forward to our involvement in the 10 Trek26 events planned for 2024.”

Could you take on the Trek26 challenge? Ten amazing locations around the UK are planned for 2024, including Stonehenge, London, North York Moors, the Lake District, South Devon Coast, Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog), Snowdonia (Eryri), Cotswolds, Suffolk Coast and the Peak District. If you can take a step in the right direction to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/Trek26 for more information – use the discount code ‘Medequip24’ to get 20% off your registration fee!

Trek26 Sign Up
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Medequip awarded Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Community Equipment Service Contract

Bedford bridge at sunset. Medequip and Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership logos

Medequip proudly announces its successful tender for the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Community Equipment Service (BLMK CES) contract. The contract, set to commence on 1 April 2024, solidifies Medequip's commitment to enhancing people's health and wellbeing and keeping people independent.

The service is commissioned by a consortium consisting of Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Luton Borough Council, Milton Keynes City Council and NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (ICB).

Medequip will provide a complete solution for the community equipment needs in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, including sourcing, delivering, maintaining, collecting, cleaning, and reusing/recycling equipment, ensuring quality and efficiency.

The BLMK CES plays a crucial role in the BLMK Integrated Care System's dedication to improving the health outcomes of residents. By providing an effective Community Equipment Service, the provision's main aims are to enable individuals to live independently in their own homes, prevent hospital admissions, support safe discharges and alleviate pressure on care services.

Cllr Mark Smith, Executive Member for Adult Social Care at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Through positive partnership work with the Integrated Care Board and our neighbouring local authorities, we can ensure that our new contract with Medequip is not only cost-effective, but also provides the highest quality of service for our residents. We look forward to working with Medequip to continue providing a much-needed service, that allows residents to live happy, healthy, and independent lives."Andy Phillips, Medequip’s Head of Business Development, praised the hard work of his team and his Medequip colleagues: "I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the teams at Medequip, whose unwavering support made all the difference in securing this highly competitive tender. Our recent expansion into new areas of the UK has allowed us to continue doing what we do best - empowering individuals to maintain their independence with dignity."

Michaela Harris, General Manager at Medequip, shared her enthusiasm for the new service: "We are thrilled to have been awarded the BLMK CES contract and are eager to commence our services from the new Medequip service centre depot in Bedford. Our team is dedicated to working closely with our partners, supporting prescribers, and enabling residents to remain independent. Medequip is committed to placing the person's needs at the centre of our service provision. We will actively adapt based on feedback, working with experts by experience and organisations such as Healthwatch to ensure we deliver a service that exceeds expectations."

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Poppy Appeal Managers Praise Medequip for Aiding in a Successful Campaign

Poppy appeal collage image

This year, Medequip depots across the South West and Suffolk joined forces with the Royal British Legion to help with their annual Poppy Appeal.

With a true commitment to the cause, Medequip staff delivered poppies and collection boxes to many locations across their respective regions and, in some places, even had the team spend time in local supermarkets to raise money for the Appeal.

In response to the effort from each depot, the charity's Poppy Appeal Managers were quick to praise the work done by Medequip staff;

Clare Peppiatt – Regional Poppy Appeal Manager South West:

"The help given to us from Medequip for Bristol, Wiltshire and Taunton has been phenomenal. Medequip staff have manned supermarkets, delivered over 50 boxes to corporate companies, and a last-minute request to supply 19 school boxes, so we kept that support. We owe a debt of gratitude to you for your kindness, dedication and money we have raised as a result of your efforts that will support our armed forces and veteran community. Thank you all so much!"

Lily Amphlett - Poppy Appeal Manager – Cardiff and Gwent:

"Medequip's invaluable contribution to this year's Poppy Appeal in Cardiff and Gwent has been a game-changer. The Medequip staff operated stands we previously couldn't cover and played a crucial role in collecting vital donations, particularly Morrisons' Newport, where just over £5,000 was raised. Additionally, Medequip went above and beyond by delivering poppy boxes and collection pots to local schools. This is a task we didn't think we could fulfil this year due to a shortage of volunteers in the area. A special thank you to Tianna (Operations Manager, Newport) for going above and beyond to coordinate the activity. Our regular volunteers have inundated us with positive feedback, expressing their enjoyment of working alongside the Medequip team. We are excited and eager for this working relationship to continue next year."

Mandi Cox-Osbourne – Poppy Appeal Manager Suffolk:

"Thank you to Medequip and their staff for their amazing support for the 2nd year running to the Suffolk Poppy Appeal 2023; from delivering pots and boxes to communities to stepping into the breech, and covering Morrisons weekday collections, where potentially we could have lost vital donations. An amazing corporation that encapsulates community support for our Armed Forces Community (past and present). My heartfelt thanks to you all!"

General Manager for the Southwest and Suffolk, Michaela Harris, also wanted to thank her staff for their exceptional dedication to supporting the Royal British Legion's Appeal.

"I am incredibly proud of the staff across my depots for their unwavering commitment and hard work in supporting the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal. Their dedication has significantly impacted raising funds to support our armed forces and veterans, and I am truly grateful for their efforts, going above and beyond for the cause."

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Making Aids and Equipment Services Work Better for People in North Yorkshire

Healthwatch North Yorkshire

Working closely with Healthwatch North Yorkshire, Medequip has completed an ambitious co-production project designed to secure accurate and in-depth feedback from people across the county who access and use their community equipment services.

A detailed survey developed and delivered by the two organisations has been carried out to explore various aspects of Medequip’s service, from the delivery of equipment through to communications, repairs and collections. The key objective was to identify areas for improvement and create a detailed Action Plan devised to ensure suggestions and contributions were listened to and acted upon.

Early in 2023, Healthwatch North Yorkshire were commissioned by Medequip to create the survey, which was then shared with a sample of 4,500 people who had recent experience of using Medequip services. The survey was produced in a range of formats to ensure it was accessible for all.

Using an independent body to gather information was deemed to be the best approach for this project, underlining Medequip’s commitment to improving the service at all levels. The objective was to achieve an accurate insight into the lived experiences of people using Medequip services, utilising this feedback to implement improvements. All information was fed back to the local commissioners and resulted in the compilation of a comprehensive Action Plan.

The survey yielded a wealth of positive responses, with most respondents stating that the equipment helped them to be more independent and feel safer. Some expressed clearly how essential their equipment is and how difficult life would be without it; one respondent said without the use of their equipment their quality of life and ability to function independently at a reasonable level would be very low.

Most respondents (78%) said their equipment is appropriate for their needs, as it was chosen or recommended by an occupational therapist, physiotherapist or nurse after an assessment. Many people said their equipment helps to provide them with privacy, independence and dignity.

The most Important aspect of the survey, however, was to identify areas for improvement, and from the feedback and insight gathered, Medequip and Healthwatch have identified six areas where aspects of the service could be improved to better meet the needs of the people of North Yorkshire.

These areas included improvements to overall suitability of the equipment to match individual needs; general communications; delivery, installation, maintenance of repair of items; quality and condition of the equipment supplied; information provided about the use and application of the equipment and finally how to return equipment when it is no longer required.

The resulting Action Plan is extensive, covering a total of 17 important improvements. One example is plans for the company’s customer services team to spend time with clinicians to understand their impact on the service and how they can communicate more effectively, improving empathy, respect and trust. In terms of equipment delivery, Medequip’s IT department is tasked with improving the accuracy of the text messaging system that keeps customers updated on scheduled equipment delivery times.

To encourage and simplify the return of equipment, meetings with Commissioners have been scheduled to review collection speeds. In addition, leaflets are being supplied to clinical leads to support increased understanding of the returns cycle, as well as implementing improved liaison with third sector organisations and media campaigns to support understanding.

“This project has been a powerful learning curve in helping us to engage with people with lived experience of our services,” stated Alex Roberts, Retail and Engagement Manager for Medequip. “Plans are already in place to replicate the survey in other Medequip contract areas, working with local Healthwatch organisations, to identify and implement areas for improvement.”

Commenting for Healthwatch North Yorkshire, Ashley Green said, “As a people’s health and social care champion, it is important to include people directly in conversations that involve their care. We welcomed the opportunity to work with Medequip and the strides to make things better for people – now and in the future.”

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Medequip Depots Support Royal British Legion With Poppy Appeal Effort

Poppy appeal collage image

It’s all about the poppies this year for Medequip depots in Suffolk and the South West, who have banded together to support the Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal. This is the Legion’s largest fundraising event, generating money to support British Armed Forces and their families, helping servicemen and women whose lives have been altered forever by wars and conflict.

The Poppy Appeal first began back in 1921 when the Royal British Legion ordered a million poppies from Anna Guérin - originator of the concept and known as ‘The Poppy Lady’ – to be made in France, as well as commissioning eight million more manufactured in UK. That first Appeal raised just over £100,000. In 2022, the annual Poppy Appeal raised an astonishing £124.5 million.

Poppy Appeal Jack and Georgia

So how is Medequip helping the Appeal? Working closely with Poppy Appeal Coordinators in Suffolk and the South West, Medequip teams have been assisting with logistics and distribution of poppy-related materials. The company’s fleet of vans have been delivering poppies and poppy collection boxes to locations as diverse as supermarkets, garages and sporting venues. As an example, Cefndy-Medequip vans in Newport have delivered collection boxes to every school in the Cardiff area.

It's not just about the poppies and the boxes. Medequip depots have also seconded scores of people to staff collection points in supermarkets across the two regions, including Morrisons and Aldi. Account Manager Andrea Clifton, who has championed expansion of Medequip’s involvement with the poppy appeal, has been amazed and delighted by people’s generosity. “In just three hours in Morrisons, we collected almost £700 - £480 on the card machine and £200 in cash,” she stated. “People have been more than generous – and now they can donate just by tapping a card it’s even easier!”

Andrea began working in Suffolk with the Poppy Appeal Coordinator last year, involving Medequip personnel to help out locally with logistics and collections. This year, working hand in hand with all the resources from Medequip’s South West depots, the team has achieved a step change in how much they can contribute. All the Medequip vans are sporting giant poppies, and many of the depots have created signage in support of the Appeal, as well as having collection boxes for staff and visitors.

“I’m really pleased to be able to get all our depots working together on this, getting stock of poppies and collection boxes out there and manning poppy sales points to generate even more donations,” said Michaela Harris, General Manager for Medequip in the South West and Suffolk. “I’m also extremely proud of our work on the Appeal, especially as Medequip counts amongst our valued employees a number of military veterans and people with family serving in the Forces. Continuing the work, we’ll be helping with collecting the boxes in again once the Appeal has finished.”

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Medequip Braintree Service Centre officially opens

Braintree depot opening ribbon cutting event

Medequip, the provider of the Essex Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service (ICELS), is proud to announce the grand opening of their Braintree Service Centre in Essex, which took place on Wednesday 25 October.

The event was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and attended by the ICELS project team from Essex County Council, Thurrock Council and NHS partners, Medequip's Board of Directors and a lived experience guest.

The open day provided a unique opportunity for partners and lived experience guests to meet the people behind the service and to see first-hand how the service operates, which includes the supply, installation, repair, maintenance, collection, and recycling of community equipment prescribed by a Health or Social Care professional.

Braintree opening

Visitors were impressed by the day-to-day running of the service, and were given a full site tour, including how the equipment is procured, stored, cleaned, repaired, and safety checked.

Councillor John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care and ICS Integration, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony and said: “Essex County Council’s new community equipment service provides what our residents have been asking for – good equipment, swiftly and efficiently delivered and with a full recycling opportunity. We will measure success both by the amount of equipment used and by the satisfaction of those who use it.”

Speaking about the event, James Ibbotson, Chief Executive Officer at Medequip, said: "We are delighted to officially open our Braintree Service Centre. This event was a great success, and we look forward to a bright future supporting our goal of keeping Essex residents independent."

Joe Woodvine, Marketing & Engagement Manager at Medequip, highlighted the future work with the Lived Experience Advisers and future project work in partnership with Healthwatch Essex, stating: "We are excited about the future of the service and our working with the Lived Experience Advisers. We believe that this partnership will enable us to understand better the needs of our people that use our services and continue to deliver the highest level of service to the residents of Essex."

Medequip is proud to be providing this valuable service to the residents of Essex and is committed to meeting their needs with the highest level of customer service.

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A Day in the Life of a Medequip Depot

Community Equipment Services play a vital role in keeping people independent and safe in their own homes. So how does the system work in practice, and how do Medequip depots ensure that the equipment prescribed reaches the right people, at the right time and in the right condition? We take a look inside at the people and processes at Medequip’s York depot to see how the CES cycle operates.

Medequip’s contract here is with North Yorkshire County Council, covering an area in excess of 3,300 square miles. Medequip also operates a satellite depot in Scarborough to provide the levels of coverage required across England’s largest county.

The main depot recently relocated from Knaresborough to York, and North Yorkshire Operations and Customer Service Manager Darren Clark explains how the move has helped. “We now have far more space and capacity,” he stated. “We have been able to design our processes based around workflow, which has increased our efficiency significantly. We’re always conscious that this service is really owned by the prescribers, and we’re committed to playing our part in providing the best and most cost-effective provision for the people of North Yorkshire.”

Addressing the logistics

So how does the day start? Logistics Manager Bruce Holroyd gives us an insight. “We’ll catch up on emails to see if anything needs to be added urgently to the day’s list,” he explained. “This aspect of the service is all about logistics. Dependent upon the scheduling, we’ll have backloaded some vehicles the evening before so our driver technicians can set off from their home addresses to optimise their routes. Part of our cleaning team comes in early, so when a late request comes in, we can usually get the piece of equipment onto a vehicle in the correct condition for delivery.”

An important part of the morning’s work is to engage with the entire team. Communications at all levels are essential, discussing everything from general work reviews, warehousing and cleaning stations, with meetings and event slotted in as required. Bruce’s task is to check and verify that everything is running smoothly, identifying and solving any issues as they arise.

Alongside the prearranged business of the day, the team must also factor in same day emergency orders, usually for beds to facilitate hospital discharges. Medequip’s same day service plays an important part in freeing up bed spaces in hospitals by making sure individuals have the right equipment to return home in safety and comfort. These requests can come in at any time of the day up to 3 o’clock in the afternoon, which demands flexibility from everyone. “We also operate an out of hours emergency call out service – our overriding priority is quality of life,” said Bruce.

Training sessions

This morning, there’s also a training session going on in the training room. Medequip is building its paediatric catalogue, and a supplier of specialist paediatric seating has scheduled a session to look at issues around cleaning, reassembly, delivery and problem solving. These are expensive items, and children grow quickly, so refurbishment and reuse is a vital part of ensuring that each person gets the best piece of equipment to match their needs and that the service achieves value for money. Working closely with equipment manufacturers means Medequip can continue to provide an informed and professional service.

Cleaning and testing

It's very busy at the Goods Returned station, where the cleaning team is hard at work. Cleaning is a vital part of the cycle, and it’s a complex task. Equipment is first assessed and reviewed from a condition point of view. Once deemed suitable for reuse, it is jet washed or steam cleaned as appropriate, with a special scrub room for mattresses. Lifting items are LOLER tested and inspected as well as PAT tested, and batteries checked to make sure they are fit for purpose and safe for use. All electrical equipment is PAT tested annually.

This is a specialist job carried out by a committed team. “You can’t assume that if it’s clean on the outside, it’s clean on the inside,” said Chris Connor. “We’re also responsible for equipment checks such as making sure pumps for pressure care equipment pass through their cycles to verify their effectiveness. We assess, clean, check, test and bag up ready for reuse.”

Each piece of equipment carries a lifetime track and trace code number, and is scanned in and out of the depot. Once it’s cleaned, tested and back on the shelves it’s on the system and ready be ordered for re-use.

In the warehouse

In the meantime, there is new equipment being delivered which needs to be coded, sometimes assembled and then put onto the shelves ready to be picked for use. The busiest times in the warehouse are between 8 and 10 in the morning, preparing equipment and loading vans, then again around 3 o’clock.

This is the remit of Warehouse Team Leader Matty Wood. “The most challenging aspect of the job is getting everything done in the time we have available,” he explained. “There are always deliveries we don’t know about until later, some of which may be two-man jobs so I suddenly lose a member of my team for the rest of the day – North Yorkshire is a very big county!”

Matty is passionate about quality at every level. “I always say, if I wouldn’t accept it at my house, then it’s not going out,” he said. “We all share the same belief in going above and beyond to make sure we can to fulfil our commitments. We’re a multi-skilled team and we work together to achieve this.”

Liaising with prescribers

Meanwhile, Equipment Co-ordinator Anna Hunt looks after all the recycled ‘specials’ including seating, stand aids, bathing aids, hoists and slings. Anna’s role involves scheduling, organising, dealing with repairs, warranty issues and advice for prescribers.

This is a specialist area, and Anna works closely with prescribers to ensure they are aware of the availability of different pieces of equipment. Each prescriber has access to a catalogue detailing the products available, including a 360o video on each. Prescribers are also always welcomed into the depot to view items to assess their suitability for individuals.

“My work is all about communication with prescribers, and getting specials back to a condition where they can safely be used for another child,” said Anna. “Paediatric seating typically has a five year lifespan. With care, we can extend this to eight years, not only saving money but also making the right product available for each child, when they need it. It’s important that we have a real rapport with occupational therapists, prescribers and families, based on trust and understanding.”

Even when this specialist equipment reaches the end of its life in the UK, it’s not the end of the road, thanks to Medequip’s links with charities like organisations like PhysioNet, who then make use of these expensive items elsewhere in the world. As an example, in 2022, many recycled specials were exported to Ukraine.

Out on the road

One of the most vital aspects of the job is getting the prescribed equipment out to the people who need it, demonstrating how to use it safely and collecting items no longer required. Medequip’s York depot employs a team of 19 experienced driver technicians, charged with visiting people’s homes and integrating the equipment into a domestic setting.

Driver Technician Andy Hall explains some of the challenges and complexities of this aspect of the service. “I really enjoy getting out and meeting people, and this role gives me a great sense of being of practical use,” he explained.

For Andy and his colleagues, there are many logistical challenges involved in the role. The DL and YO postcodes covered by this contract are two of the biggest in the country. Each day will typically have around 25 deliveries, but these can be spread across a wide geographical area. Parking can present problems, particularly when delivering larger pieces of equipment, as well as access to individual homes such as small cottages with narrow doors or blocks of flats. Sometimes, these issues have been flagged up in advance, but often come as a surprise!

He finds the emotional issues affect him greatly too. “Bereavement collections need to be handled with real sensitivity,” he explained. “People have suffered a personal loss, and often want the equipment removing from their homes as soon as possible. This may be a place I’ve visited on more than one occasion with different pieces of equipment, and I may have encountered people at their most vulnerable times. I always tell myself that no matter how difficult my day may have been, for the people you’re delivering to or collecting from, it’s always been worse.”

Continuously working for improvements in service quality

Today in the depot, alongside the day to day work, the team is busy planning for an important event which plays a vital role in improving communications between all those who deliver community equipment services across North Yorkshire.

The North Yorkshire County Council contract is a C-QUIN ( Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) framework, designed around achieving constant improvements in service quality and patterns of care – all vital considerations for Medequip.

To support this, Medequip organises four key Open Days or Roadshows each year. These events bring together everyone involved in delivering the contract, including prescribers and clinicians, providing a unique opportunity for them to share their issues and suggestions as well as best practice. The events are rounded up with equipment training with manufacturers and suppliers, product presentations and Q&A sessions.

“Our Open Days give us an important opportunity to interact with all the different specialists delivering this vital service,” explained Darren Clark. “We’re always aware that Medequip is one cog – albeit a critical one! – in the delivery of community equipment services. Events like this enable us to bring together our experiences and knowledge and pool our resources to ensure we continue to operate in line with the needs of the people who use our services and the established C-QUIN values.”

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Belief in Action – the Story so Far

Belief in Action has been working in and around Romania for over 40 years, delivering resources and sharing skills and knowledge to support sustainable community projects. The key objectives of the charity are to ‘Break the cycle of poverty, to alleviate suffering and to foster a positive attitude towards disability.’

Work began before the revolution of 1989, when current Trustee Susanna Davies’ aunt was working in the country as a clinician with a persecuted church, where people were starved and imprisoned because of their faith. Following the revolution, Su’s aunt was in the right place to help with the distribution of humanitarian aid from around the world.

Su’s involvement began in the early 2000s, as part of a network of occupational therapists travelling to Romania to identify where they could use their skills. “The need was vast, and still is,” explained Sue. “We linked up with a church organisation concerned about the future for people with disabilities. The potential was immediately evident.”

The Medequip connection

In Romania, Sue had met up with a young boy with muscular dystrophy, and spoke to her colleague Elke Small back in the UK to establish whether a wheelchair could be sourced for him. Elke, who was at the time a team manager for an independent living service, was visiting a Medequip depot and saw one destined for landfill. Medequip was pleased to donate the item. “At the same time,” said Elke, “I saw other pieces of equipment destined for disposal which I felt could be refurbished and exported for use by Su and the charity, Belief in Action. And that’s how the relationship started!”

Today around 85% of the equipment received by Belief in Action comes from Medequip. “This is equipment deemed to be at the end of its useful life in this country,” explained Michaela Harris, general manager for Medequip in the South West and Suffolk. “Donating it to the charity is an important part of our recycling and sustainability policy. We reduce waste to landfill, Belief in Action receive high quality equipment which can be refurbished and go on to play a crucial role in helping people with disabilities in Romania to lead more fulfilled lives.”

The equipment loan scheme model

“We have a model which we believe is different from other charities,” said Su. “We wanted to collaborate and establish relationships to effect change. Other charities donate equipment, which is of vital importance, but we go further, providing training for the local volunteer workforce of our Romanian partner Hope Without Limits, for whom we set up an equipment loan scheme. The equipment comes back in to the charity when it has been outgrown or is no longer needed, which means that recycling continues and more people benefit. Additionally, the team managing the loan scheme is able to build relationships with the ‘service users’, offer additional support such as social activity groups, food and advice to help care for families longer term. It’s important to be aware of the cultural mix in Romania, which is still (in our view) an oppressed nation where disabled people and certain ethnic groups are not valued.”

For Elke, who has now retired from her management role and works closely with Su, specialist seating for children is a vital area. “Children with complex disabilities are at risk of scoliosis and displaced hips when lying constantly on the floor or carried in arms,” she explained. “The difference when they have access to specialist paediatric seating is quite incredible. You see a child begin to engage, even speak and feed themselves when seated and supported in an upright position.”

Belief in Action – a personal approach

Su and Elke have so many examples of individual need. When they first met Zolika, or Zoli as he is known, he was spending all his time lying on a day bed, not engaging and at risk of aspirating when feeding. Once upright in a specialist chair, he began to engage with family members, look around, reach for objects and feed himself. Now, a few years later, he is involved in a project to create a mural depicting Belief in Action’s work which is destined for Medequip’s Ipswich depot.

Raisa , one of twin girls, suffers from cerebral palsy and had spent her young life either carried around or lying on the floor. Given a chair with a rise and descend function, she was able to join her family at the meal table or descend to a lower level to interact with her twin. In addition, a specialist buggy has given Raisa and her family a very different life and outlook.

A young man who sustained a spinal injury diving into a pool when he was a teenager is now in his 30s and cared for by his elderly mother on the fourth floor of an apartment block. Providing the family with a profiling bed has transformed his life and that of his mother in her role as his carer. Belief in Action supports many older parents caring for profoundly disabled grown up children, for whom profiling beds and hoists have been life changing.

“It’s still quite astonishing how little is available for so many people,” said Su. “On a recent visit, we were amazed to learn that when one of our beneficiaries had to spend time in the neurological unit at a local general hospital, they contacted the local team for a commode. Apparently there was only one in the whole unit consisting of several wards. This is a facility just three hours away from Bucharest in a country which is a member of the EU, the twelfth largest country in Europe and the sixth most populous member state, and illustrates just how difficult things are for individuals with specialist needs. The director of nursing has since contacted the team for additional equipment and whilst remaining sympathetic, the main aim is to support individuals in need and not government institutions.

A growing service

Su and Elke feel that the whole agenda around social and environmental responsibility, with companies thinking more about what constitutes waste, has helped their cause. Pre-pandemic, Belief in Action was sending one or two lorryloads of equipment a year. That has grown to one every three months.

“Medequip is good at making things happen,” said Elke. “The company now has recycling champions in all their depots, identifying suitable equipment and setting it aside. It’s then transported to Herefordshire, where we partner with another charity to move it regularly to Romania. The logistics angle, and funding the cost of this, is a work in progress, but it’s moving forward!”

The charity also facilitates groups of healthcare professionals and other volunteers on trips to Romania, where they spend time assisting people with disabilities, assess individuals and provide education and training in disability awareness for the volunteer workforce of Romanian partner Hope Without Limits.

Can you help?

In Romania, Belief in Action works with two project bases and is now looking to develop satellite hubs to spread help and support further afield. Resources are always limited, and the charity is always looking for donations of suitable equipment or for financial and practical assistance with transporting equipment, both around the UK and out to Romania. If you can help in any way, visit www.beliefin-action.co.uk or contact info@beliefin-action.co.uk

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Bill Cooksey's on the Road Again!

The intrepid Bill Cooksey has done it again – on 10th September he completed the A J Bell Great North run in just 5 hours and 41 minutes, and we’re proud to say he did all his training using a stroller donated by Medequip!

At 102, Bill is the oldest participant ever to take part in the race. He’s no stranger to physical achievement – he’s been fundraising for the NHS since the COVID epidemic, and has already completed a 100 mile walk and a 1000 mile trike ride, raising thousands of pounds. He was accompanied on the course by the CEO of the local NHS Trust, in recognition of his fundraising achievements, and supported by friend Gavin Iceton.

The elements certainly conspired to make it difficult for Bill on the day. The highest temperature ever recorded at the start of a Great North Run was posted as he set off. By the end, it was also the wettest ever, with Bill completing the last three miles of the course in biblical rain, wading through puddles!

All of which meant that the tents at the end of the course were flooded out, so although Bill got his medal, he didn’t get the T-shirt. This was put right by former athlete Brendan Foster, founder of the Great North Run, who visited Bill a couple of weeks later to present him with a signed T-shirt and to re-present his medal to him, alongside other memorabilia. He’s now the poster boy for the event - apparently video of him completing the course has been viewed over 3 million times on Facebook!

Bill’s officially a local legend. They’re unveiling a plaque to him at ROF 59, a former World War II munitions factory in Newton Aycliffe which now serves as a mixed leisure facility. Following this, he’ll be part of a double decker celebration ride to a local brewery where they’re naming a beer in his honour!

This isn’t the last we’ll hear of Bill – he already has plans in place for future fundraising exploits!

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Connecting with Local Communities: Medequip’s New Sponsorship Pathway

Medequip's sponsorship team eagerly reviews a growing number of requests each year from our dedicated staff across the country, passionate about supporting local initiatives within our contract areas. Over time, we have proudly extended our support to after-school clubs, dementia sessions, Scout & Guide Shows, and charity sleepouts, as well as sponsoring kits for children's sports clubs nationwide.

Sponsorships are deeply ingrained in our company values, as we firmly believe in giving back to the communities we serve. Recently, we have introduced a new streamlined approval process for sponsorships within Medequip, aiming to focus on initiatives and clubs at the heart of our local communities and encourage our staff to get involved and support them in the future. This new pathway outlines the minimum requirements for funding, ensuring our resources are allocated towards impactful causes.

Throughout our contracts, Medequip staff are consistently going above and beyond to serve their local communities, even amidst their busy work schedules. Now, we are delighted to have the opportunity to recognise and reward those who invest extra time and effort into passion projects outside of work.

Take our latest sponsorship from our Kirklees contract, for example, where we have proudly become the kit sponsor for the Dalton Dynamos Youth Football Club. It's worth noting that the club is coached by one of our local technicians. Since the sponsorship, we have engaged in discussions about providing further support, including potentially sending staff to games to offer assistance and exploring additional possibilities for ongoing support.

Furthermore, our new sponsorships pathway has led us to form partnerships with major community trusts in our local communities. By collaborating with trusts that are already engaged in positive initiatives within the community, we are better positioned to anticipate and provide further support to their efforts, working hand in hand with them to benefit local residents.

Through our agreements with Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation, Rotherham United Community Sports Trust, Somerset County Cricket Club, Bristol Rovers Community Trust and Huddersfield Giants Community Trust, we have tapped into their local knowledge to serve in the most effective way possible.

This has included sponsoring disability team setups and weekly inclusive training classes, as well as providing support for dementia care sessions in nursing homes and lending a helping hand at events organised by the trusts.

Through the pathway and by re-committing to our chosen charity, Alzheimer’s Society, we have been able to up our efforts to have local staff volunteer in more events within our contracted areas. This year, we’ve managed to support at all 10 of Alzheimer’s Society’s Trek 26 events nationwide by manning checkpoints and water stops as well as assisting in setting up and closing down. We also have been encouraging staff to assist at local clubs and charitable events by offering volunteer days to help out within the community.

We remain committed to forging lasting and impactful connections within our communities for years to come. Our goal is to utilise our sponsorship budget to support local initiatives and represent the areas we serve to the best of our abilities.

Ultimately, we aim to implement this project across all our depots and celebrate the success that comes from the hard work put into this new pathway.

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It's Showtime!

Here at Medequip, our marketing and engagement team is gearing up and planning for a busy autumn season of conferences and exhibitions.

Firstly, we are delighted to be joining the #SocialCareFuture gathering in Manchester in October. This event celebrates and extends the work this movement does to help shape the future of social care to enable people to live a ‘Gloriously Ordinary Life’. Medequip recently joined the SCF Community for Support Provider Organisations, and we are very keen to listen, learn and contribute to influencing the better provision of social care to help enable people to live independently in the place they call home.

Next, Medequip will be exhibiting at the Occupational Therapy Show (OT Show) at the National Exhibition Centre on 22-23 November. The purpose of this show is to provide an opportunity for occupational therapists to find updated information, new resources, support and education from peers, all in one place. Across the country, Medequip works with thousands of prescribers to provide the best possible equipment solutions for those who need them in a timely, professional way. The OT Show will provide the stage for us to talk about our clinical investment, specials management, the involvement of people with lived experience in the Equipment Matters coproduction group we host and our latest equipment recycling initiatives.

The following week sees elected council members and senior leaders in local authorities with responsibility for, or an interest in, delivering effective services and opportunities for children, young people and adults gather at the annual National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC) this year at the Bournemouth International Centre. Medequip will be there to share our experience and learning, thoughts about integration, personalisation, partnerships and inclusivity – all aspects of delivering the services we are contracted to provide – in community equipment, technology-enabled care and wheelchair services. We have been talking to and working with a number of organisations respected for their input into social care evolution. We look forward to sharing some of our learning and listening to the leaders in the health and care sectors share their thinking, too.

Finally, the 7-8 December sees us join The Commissioners Conference, delivered by National Commissioning and Contracting Training Conferences (NCCTC) at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire. This is a very interactive conference with excellent networking and conversation opportunities as everyone attending stays on-site and shares meals and social activity in addition to the multiple workshops and round table discussions. Medequip will be happy to sponsor a small number of delegate places – please contact marketing@medequip-uk.com if you are interested and able to accept this.

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Supporting the personalisation of services in Health and Social Care

David Griffiths

What do you think I mean when I say, “I support the personalisation of services in Health and Social Care”?

People who know about these things have explained the history of personal budgets and Direct Payments. How disabled people campaigned for the payments themselves and for the support that can be needed to make sure everything is delivered, paid for and accounted for properly.

I think this must be a work in progress because I read that the number of people using Direct Payments has gone down every year since 2015 and it has never been a big part of our work in Community Equipment or Technology Enabled Care.

However, I do see a lot written about choice and control, personalisation and outcomes, in the specifications that cross my desk for Community Equipment and Technology Enabled Care services, so I am guessing that these are still required.

And I have seen examples of Direct Payments working, or working well-enough, so that people do have some choice and control in how their care and support is arranged.

But what does any of that mean when Local Authorities and the NHS are strapped for cash and struggling, or failing, to keep afloat. Especially when that means there is pressure on managers, clinicians, and prescribers to restrict funding or gate-keep services.

As a long-term fan of Newcastle United, I am used to not getting what I want, and in my mind “personalisation” does not mean anyone who would benefit from some support, having whatever they want, whenever they want it.

To me, it starts with an honest and open conversation between people who draw on care and support, and the people and organisations that make a living arranging and providing that care and support, including Local Authorities and NHS organisations.

That’s what is happening across the Medequip depots and services. We are not experts in engaging with communities, so we have organisations like Community Catalysts and Healthwatch helping us, the Think Local, Act Personal Making it Real framework to guide us and the Social Care Future movement to inspire us.

Through them, and from people who have used our services or the services of other organisations, we have learned many things about how we can make our service better and how people want to live their lives.

Where there are other people responsible for making decisions, we have helped make introductions, for example, on the sorts of equipment we can provide, or the timescales for collecting things.

Where there are things we can change directly, we get on with it, and where there is more of a culture change involved, we look outside our organisation for support, and for challenge.

I won’t stray into the legal area, some might call it a quagmire, of how a Local Authority decides how much money to allow someone to have, for example to pay for Home Care or other services that can also be provided through contracts with various provider organisations.

But let’s just say it gets difficult to unravel the costs of sourcing, delivering, maintaining, repairing and collecting equipment to support people in their own home. Especially if you have a unit cost based on a large company loaning equipment on behalf of the Local Authority to lots of people in an area.

But I do believe in personalisation, if it means seeing people as people first, and in working with them to understand how they want their care and support, and maybe community equipment and Technology Enabled Care provided.

Does this mean starting with a more hopeful view of what people want to achieve for themselves? Yes, it must do.

Does this mean starting with a realistic view of the funding and other sorts of support available in a community? A big yes to this too.

But, it also has to mean that we all take a long hard look at the way we do things. Things that we have got used to and see as part of the way we have always done things. Like who does assessments and reviews, how much choice people have over types of equipment, and the balance of convenience and speed.

I take heart from the increasing number of contracts that require organisations to be innovation partners and that commit commissioners and service providers to work together alongside people who use services.

And I am inspired by the positive and negative feedback we receive from people and the continual efforts of the Medequip team to do their best.

So yes, I support Newcastle, and yes I support personalisation, both are fundamental to me, but I make sense of both of them by believing in and supporting people.

Money and systems may have to move around and evolve for personalisation to work the way the original campaigners hoped for, but if you believe in that, and the people involved, there is a better chance of this happening.

If you are ready to ask different questions about how Community Equipment and Technology Enabled Care services can play a part in the personalisation journey in your area, get in touch, Medequip is ready to help you think of some different answers.

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Medequip retain contract to provide the Integrated Community Equipment Service for Derbyshire

Bakewell, Derbyshire

Derbyshire County Council and NHS Derby & Derbyshire Integrated Care Board have re-awarded Medequip the contract to provide the Integrated Community Equipment Service for Derbyshire, with the new contract commencing on 1 December 2023.

Medequip is already the provider of this service and will continue to be responsible for the supply, delivery, installation, maintenance and collection of equipment prescribed by a health or social care professional. The company has a long-term relationship with Derbyshire County Council and NHS Derby & Derbyshire Integrated Care Board, dating back to 1 April 2004, and is proud to continue the partnership to support Derbyshire residents.

As part of the new contract, Medequip have agreed to relocate to a new service centre depot in 2025, which will support the expected increase in activities to support Derbyshire residents to stay independent. The company also plans to increase the number of electric vehicles to 25% of its Derbyshire fleet.

Prescribers will use the newest version of the equipment ordering and management system, TCES Community, which will improve service efficiencies and simplify the ordering and tracking of equipment. This will mean that Prescribers can focus more on the needs of the Resident/Patient.

The new contract will increase coproduction and community engagement with people with lived experiences. Medequip will work alongside the contract Commissioners, the wider Integrated Care System partners and Derbyshire community organisations.

Steve Smith, Regional General Manager at Medequip, said: "We are delighted to have been re-awarded this contract and to continue our partnership with Derbyshire County Council and NHS Derby & Derbyshire Integrated Care Board. The focus of everyone involved with the contract remains on supporting Derbyshire residents to remain independent, and we look forward to working with our partners to achieve this."

Andy Philips, Head of Business Development at Medequip, added: "I am incredibly proud of the hard work that our team put into the competitive tender process, and I am thrilled that we have been successful in securing this contract. We are committed to providing a high-quality service to the people of Derbyshire, and we are excited to continue our partnership with Derbyshire County Council and NHS Derby & Derbyshire Integrated Care Board."

Richard Thornton, ICES Contract Manager at Derbyshire County Council said: “We are pleased to announce Medequip were the successful applicant for the Derbyshire Integrated Community Equipment Service. We look forward to continuing this partnership to ensure residents of Derbyshire are provided with an essential service to keep them safe and independent.”

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Medequip Suffolk Donate Matchday Wheelchairs to Ipswich Town Foundation

Medequip and Ross Care at Ipswich Town FC

Medequip and its wheelchair service, Ross Care, are delighted to announce the donation of nine wheelchairs to Ipswich Town FC Foundation for supporters to use on match days.

The wheelchairs, which are all branded, will contribute to making the experience of visiting Portman Road more accessible on a matchday, adding to improvements across last season, including the return of sensory packs and the addition of more accessible benches in the pre-match FanZone.

'We are delighted to have been able to supply wheelchairs for use by visitors to the stadium. We work hard to give back to the community that we live and work in, and we look forward to continuing to work with ITFC to increase disabled access to football for everyone of all ages, whether playing or watching.' said Andrea Clifton, Account Manager at Medequip's Suffolk Depot.

This donation will further solidify the Club and the Foundation's commitment to providing an accessible for all supporters and those looking to get involved in football, aligning with Medequip's strong belief in equality in sport.

Partnerships and agreements with sporting organisations, aiming to help make sport more inclusive for all, has been a passion of Medequip's in recent years, highlighted in the positive efforts put into the work done with Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation, Bristol Rovers Community Trust and Rotherham United Community Sports Trust.

'This is an incredibly generous and thoughtful donation from Medequip,' added Disability Liaison Officer for ITFC Foundation, Lee Smith.

'It will allow the Club to offer more assistance to its guests and supporters and enable them to attend games and events here at Portman Road. We can't thank Medequip and Ross Care enough.'

Any supporters looking to use the wheelchairs can contact the Club's Disability Liaison Officer, Lee Smith, at lee.smith@itfc.co.uk.

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Transforming Care Technology in Sutton with Medequip Connect Partners

NAEP Logo 2023

New and emerging Technology Enabled Care (TEC) products and services can transform the lives of people requiring support in order to continue to live well, independently and safely in their own homes.

On 1 August, TEC specialists Medequip Connect assume responsibility for the care technology service on behalf of Sutton Council, which currently supports over 1,600 residents across the borough.

The company will also manage a 24/7 Mobile Responder Service, providing a personal response to people’s homes in the event of an alarm call. This vital support service promises a response within 45 minutes of a call, helping to prevent unnecessary ambulance callouts and hospital admissions, working closely with the local Urgent Care Response service in Sutton.

“Tech enabled care like all technology is constantly evolving,” said Stephen McKee, Head of Business Development for Medequip Connect. “We will be working as a technology innovation partner for Sutton Council, identifying new tech enabled care opportunities and bringing these to the community as part of our service to help people stay safe and improve their lives, providing a more proactive model of support.”

Councillor Marian James, Chair of People Committee, said: “We are ambitious for our residents of all ages and I am delighted we are using Medequip Connect’s technology in such a positive way to help our residents stay safe and maintain their independence. This service will help residents to remain independent, feel more confident in their home, and importantly provide an alert should a problem arise so that we can arrange the most appropriate support quickly. It’s a very exciting time for the Council, our residents and businesses as we work together to make Sutton an inclusive borough for everyone.”

Medequip Connect will also be available to people in the borough on a private basis, offering opportunities for all residents to access technology to help them to continue to live independently at home for as long as possible.

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Medequip Retains CES Contract for Suffolk

Suffolk

Medequip is delighted to announce that the company has successfully retained the community equipment services (CES) contract for Suffolk. The new contract will run for four years, from 2023 to 2027, with an optional additional three years until 2030.

Medequip has provided community equipment services (CES) across the county of Suffolk since 2015. The service covers the supply, delivery, installation, repair, maintenance, collection and recycling of community equipment prescribed by a health or social care professional to help people continue to live independently and safely.

Over 650,000 people live in Suffolk. Suffolk covers 3,801 square km, across 5 districts; Ipswich, East Suffolk; Mid Suffolk; Babergh and West Suffolk much of this rural in nature. Over the past 12 months, the Medequip team has delivered over 98,000 items of community equipment, carrying out an average of 220 jobs each and every day as well as a number of same day deliveries for urgent requirements, many to support vital hospital discharges.

In addition, Medequip successfully recycles over 90% of collected items, supporting the people of Suffolk to be independent, contributing to sustainability targets and optimising the budget making it as cost effective contract as possible for community equipment services.

Moving forward into the new contract term, Medequip will be introducing a Trusted Assessor service to assist with the prescribing of community equipment, further expanding clinical support and continuing to focus on community engagement and co-production initiatives in support of the service. The company will also be investing in the development of its warehousing and customer service site in Ipswich, upgrading existing decontamination and cleaning facilities to further enhance speed of service and product availability.

Laura Rawlings, Business Development Manager for Suffolk, said “The standard of applications during our tender process was high with particular focus on how the provider would support the wider systems priorities. The contract award will allow us to continue building on the improvements made from previous years and support our patients to live independently at home.”

Social value was an important consideration for Suffolk when awarding the new contract. Medequip has a proven track record of commitment to co-production, working collaboratively with the people who commission and use the organisation’s services to achieve a culture of improvement.

Alongside commitment to training initiatives, apprenticeships and supported employment, Medequip supports an active volunteering programme, with every member of staff enjoying eight hours of paid release every year for local charities, accounting for 480 hours in Suffolk alone.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to continue working in Suffolk,” stated Michaela Harris for Medequip. “The team in Ipswich is committed to providing the very best service as well as contributing to the local communities across the county, supporting charities and initiatives to help others. The next few years will see the service develop further with some fantastic enhancements and improvements. The staff in Ipswich are thrilled and are looking forward to seeing the positive changes over the next few years.”

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Medequip Goes Live with ICELS for Essex County Council

Medequip Braintree, Essex service centre depot

Community equipment specialists Medequip have now assumed responsibility for the Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service (ICELS) for Essex County Council and its partners, with effect from 1 July 2023.

Medequip is providing the service for Essex County Council alongside its partners East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Mid & South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Thurrock Council.

ICELS is a vital service that provides equipment designed to help individuals who have disabilities, long-term illnesses or who are recovering from surgery or accidents, to live more independently and improve their quality of life.

Taking over the role from ECL (Essex Cares Ltd), Medequip is now responsible for the supply, delivery, installation, maintenance and collection of community equipment prescribed by healthcare professionals across Essex. Medequip is also assuming responsibility for equipment already on loan to residents from ELC, and will continue to service and collect this equipment as appropriate.

Operating from a new build logistics and support centre on the Horizon 120 Business Park near Braintree, Medequip will work closely with the council and its partners to ensure that the service is delivered efficiently, effectively, and to the highest levels of customer experience. Additional focus will be placed on innovation and social value as drivers for the contract into the future.

The contract will be serviced by a fleet of 40 Medequip vehicles, of which 25% are electric as part of Medequip’s drive to enhance sustainable operating practices. This figure will increase to 50% of the fleet in 2024 when longer range vehicles become available.

In addition, the building itself has been designed and built to optimise sustainability. A minimum of 30% of the projected energy requirements are provided through renewable energy technology, including PV panels installed on the roof and the provision of air source heat pumps. Air tight construction, high levels of insulation, solar control glazing, rooflights for natural daylighting at circa 13% of warehouse floor space, high efficiency heat recovery ventilation to the office areas and high efficiency LED lighting with occupancy sensing and daylight dimming controls contribute to Medequip’s commitment to sustainability.

Gary Yandle, Medequip’s Operations Manager for Essex, spoke on behalf of the Medequip team on completion of the seamless implementation. “I would like to extend my thanks to the New Contract Implementation Team for their hard work and dedication in ensuring a smooth handover, and also to extend a warm welcome to our new colleagues who have transferred over from ECL to our depot team to support our work on behalf of the people of Essex,” he stated.

Residents across Essex looking for assistance with independent living and signposting to products and services can also access Medequip’s self help guide online at medequip.livingmadeeasy.org.uk

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Making a Difference for Specials Recycling

Medequip clinical team members at The OT Show 2022

Fiona Wasdell-Bowyer is Head of Clinical Services and Designated Safeguarding Lead for Medequip. She has over two decades of experience as an occupational therapist, and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Occupation Therapy. Here, Fiona discusses how the clinical services team she heads up is making a real difference for our community equipment services contracts around the UK.

What made you decide to join Medequip?

For me, it’s always been about the personalisation agenda. Helping people in maintaining independence is my passion, and the developing world of community equipment and technology enabled care is opening up a world of new opportunities. During my career, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in many different areas of social care, including OT, Telecare and Sensory services, Independent Living Centres and being a clinical lead for transforming community equipment services. The role at Medequip gave me an exciting opportunity to join as head of clinical services at the beginning of their journey, building on a strong foundation and growing the team.

How has the work of the OT team developed?

When I joined, Medequip employed three occupational therapists. We now have eleven OTs, each linked to individual contracts across ten depots. We are always striving to put the person at the centre of everything we do – it’s all about the individual people and getting them the right equipment at the right time. Having clinical staff working in our depots means we can achieve this better, more quickly and more efficiently, making real improvements for people and for our commissioners, maximising time and money.

'They have saved the service thousands of pounds by acting as that professional link between a provider and the clinicians within the commissioned services.' (NHS Commissioner)

How is the clinical team making a difference for Medequip contracts?

One of our primary focus areas has been to improve the management of ‘specials’, a term that defines all non-standard stock and includes many complex and bespoke pieces of equipment. We play an important role in choosing the right equipment to put in the catalogue, and supporting decisions around buying new specials, optimising budgets. Our clinicians all have a wealth of experience, and they are frequently asked for advice from prescribers in the community. Then it’s all about making sure the contracts don’t have expensive recycled special equipment sitting around “gathering dust”, but rather making the most of it. We aim to identify any new orders where there is an alternative option available using the recycled specials. The clinicians also understand which equipment to prioritise for repair then reuse, matching it to individuals’ needs and getting it back out there, working for people, using our clinical knowledge to support the whole process.

Our results are speaking for themselves.

Depots with an OT are now recycling an average of 60% more special bespoke equipment than depots without an OT. The higher the recycled percentage, the more the contracts are saving. Over the past six months across just seven depots, we’ve saved an estimated £3.25m by successfully recycling and reusing specials, providing a huge benefit for the contracts and demonstrating clear evidence of the developing impact of Medequip’s clinical team.

It’s not just a financial benefit. There are clear advantages for the people who use our services, who get the equipment they need without a long wait for availability. Also in terms of the time saved for OTs in social care and NHS finding the ‘special’ they need more quickly. In addition, there are sustainability benefits too with the lower environmental impact of having more products manufactured and shipped.

'They have been innovative in their approach at trying to look at ways of improving service delivery.' (Lead Clinical Prescriber)

Where else has the clinical team been active within Medequip?

We’re involved with lots of best practice initiatives, with improved risk assessments, processes and tool kits, finding solutions and encouraging learning across our contracts to make sure we share solutions to the benefit of all. Equipment Review Groups involve joint working with procurement to bring a clinical perspective, again sharing best practice and maximising our equipment influence.

At a depot level, Medequip’s OTs are working to ensure our local staff have improved awareness of clinical perspectives, improving practices around risk management, customer services and dealing with complaints. Safeguarding has been an important focus for me too, as Designated Safeguarding Lead. We have implemented a new policy and integrated procedures right across the organisation, with local ‘champions’ in place and local contacts and guidance approved by our contracts.

We’re also training and overseeing Trusted Assessors more and more in Medequip. The role of the TA can vary across the business, but they are available as requested by prescribers to undertake an assessment of need for simple equipment in people’s homes. We have clinical input into the processes, staff training, and communication with prescribers, resulting in increased prescriber confidence and improved outcomes for people.

'They understand the challenges that clinicians have and also the logistics involved in the provision of the service and are great at mediating between the two to make sure the best service is given to the end user' (Local Authority Commissioner)

How are things looking into the future?

These are increasingly challenging times for health and social care. As a responsible provider, we consider it a vital part of our role to optimise our services and processes to maximise our contribution whilst offering value for money. They are exciting times too for Medequip, as we begin to work more closely with our partners Medequip Connect and Manage At Home in both TEC and retail.

One of the most rewarding things for me has been to see Medequip’s individual OTs working in our depots effectively coming together as a cohesive team of experienced and committed clinicians, supporting each other and their colleagues. It’s a joyful team to work with and I consider myself lucky to be part of it and able to play a role in our joint achievements.

Date:

Learning and Working with Supported Employment

Forward2Employment

Medequip’s journey to learning and understanding about supported employment began back in 2021 in partnership with BASE (British Association for Supported Employment) and Disability Rights UK. The company is currently at Disability Confident Employer Level 2, working towards Level 3.

Medequip was introduced to the Forward2Employment support scheme through our partnership with Dynamic Recruitment. We recruited our first apprentice at our Rochester depot in September 2021; he has now completed his training and learning programme supported by Forward2Employment and is now employed full time by Medequip.

This valuable process involved Medequip and our staff in Rochester going through an important learning process too, in order to best support our apprentice. We were provided with training and assistance to help us achieve a better understanding of the challenges he faces on a daily basis, whilst he benefited from the support of a job coach from Forward2Employment to assist with learning and development aspects. We now have a further two apprentices at our Woodford Green depot.

Medequip recently held an Open Day at Rochester for a cohort of potential students, who spent a morning finding out about what we do and how we do it. We enjoyed an excellent turnout; the event was well attended by Forward2Employment students, with a programme focused on helping young people into permanent and purposeful employment.

Achieving a more inclusive recruitment policy is an integral part of Medequip’s HR strategy. At our Birmingham depot, Depot Manager Jo Page has been working closely with The PURE project (Placing vulnerable Urban Residents into Employment) for several years. PURE brings together a range of coordinated interventions designed to assist the needs of the most vulnerable citizens with barriers into the employment market.

To date, Medequip in Birmingham has welcomed three PURE trainees, all of whom have gone on to permanent employment at the depot. “We were always convinced we had the right environment to support, mentor and guide individuals through to employment, education and training in line with the PURE objectives,” stated Jo. ”We have benefited from great support from local agencies as well as our own Medequip team here in Birmingham, who are completely on board with our objectives. Our PURE people are an important and integral part of this team and a joy to work with, as well as exhibiting high levels of commitment and reliability.”

Date:

Introducing the New Alzheimer's Society Dream Team!

Alzheimer's Society logo

Medequip has been proud to partner with the Alzheimer’s Society for some years now, staging fundraising initiatives across the company depots driven by Michaela Harris, General Manager South West and Suffolk, and Content Marketing Specialist Tom Rogers. With plans to further enhance fundraising efforts over the coming months, the pair have now been joined in their efforts by Accounts Manager Andrea Clifton and Medequip Connect’s Bid Writer and Content Marketer Tessa Duell.

Andrea’s long term involvement with community engagement and co-production within Medequip means she has a lot to bring to the table in terms of finding the right initiatives to encourage staff participation. Tessa will focus on developing the role Medequip Connect has to play in this important charitable initiative.

The four now schedule monthly meetings with Holly Quinn from the Alzheimer’s Society, who shares potential opportunities and helps the team progress future fundraising ideas.

This committed team is now moving forward with new ideas, working towards having every depot included in fundraising initially via specially produced packs and content then gearing up the efforts to boost fundraising totals across Medequip.

In support of this, the Alzheimer’s fundraising team are now ensuring that:-

  • Copies of the Alzheimer’s Society magazine/newsletters will be delivered to every depot to keep staff updated on what their donations are being used for and to inspire and encourage fundraising initiatives
  • Every depot in Medequip and Medequip Connect will shortly receive a new fundraising pack including a money pot, wristbands, pins and other items, available for sale to depot staff, visitors and family members and friends as part of the general fundraising drive
  • All Alzheimer’s Society Trek 26 events held in Medequip depot areas have been or will be attended by Medequip staff as volunteers
  • A number of larger events are also being planned, including football tournaments in Bristol and Rotherham)
  • Traditional Just Giving-based fundraisers are ongoing, such as the annual Fantasy Football League, the Women’s World Cup and potentially the Men’s Rugby League World Cup.
Date:

Fully Interactive at Disability Expo

Manage At Home - Disability Expo 2023

Medequip was delighted to attend this year's Disability Expo at ExCeL London in July with the Manage At Home Interactive Accessible Home. Our fully interactive home featured off-the-shelf products and specialist equipment for visitors to try out in a realistic environment, showcasing how you can improve independent living without compromising on the feel and style of your home.

Visitors to the Interactive Accessible Home were able to travel through our four living spaces; the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom, which featured just over 100 products, coming from 24 trusted brands. Custom swing tags were attached to each product being displayed, enabling people to scan a QR code taking them to that product's page on the Manage At Home website.

Visitors also had the opportunity to join Medequip's Occupational Therapists for a guided tour of the Interactive Accessible Home, seeing and learning about products to support independence.

Medequip's Content Marketing Specialist, Tom Rogers, reports the event was successful. 'Disability Expo and our Interactive Accessible Home allowed the public to ask us direct questions about how daily living aids can help them live better independently.

'The marketing team, together with our incredible Occupational Therapists, got the chance to hear first-hand accounts of how people are living with disabilities, and were able to offer them ideas and advice about what's out there and available to them.

'We are very proud that we managed to speak to so many people, and we're excited to see how the event grows in years to come.'

Date:

Achieving the Standards

Marie Martinalli

Marie Martinalli, Head of SHEQ, Integrated Governance & Training and Data Protection Officer for Medequip, talks about our recent successful reaccreditation to key ISO standards alongside the Medequip One Way Integrated Management System.

“Medequip is currently accredited to the four main ISO standards in terms of our compliance platform, including ISO 9001 governing quality, environmental standard ISO 14001, occupational health standard ISO 45001 and ISO 27001 covering information security.

With all four requiring reaccreditation every three years, we made the decision to streamline the auditing for ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001, reviewing and combining our processes from an efficiency point of view to minimise operational impact.

Our strategy for reaccreditation has involved partnership with Alcumus, providers of pioneering technology-led risk management solutions. We were already managing our external contractors through Alcumus; their ethos matches our philosophies, driven by health and safety and the desire to promote a culture of safety across our business.

The work has involved a total of 19 days of external audits. As a certified lead auditor for all four standards, I can bring to the table a comprehensive understanding of exactly what is required to achieve a successful outcome. It’s a very vigorous process, with Medequip demonstrating we adhere to our Medequip One Way integrated management system (IMS). All our policies and procedures sit within our IMS – only one way to do it, and only one place to go!

Our comprehensive and harmonised IMS enables us to share information easily and provide remote access to external auditors. With over 900 different policies and procedures at Medequip, it’s a complex process for our auditors to assess how everything is embedded and implemented!

All this work required major input from Medequip people with regard to the upload of evidence and facilitating site visits. All our teams have been very engaged and responsive in producing information and detail, from front line staff though to senior management. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one for the part they have played in ensuring our reaccreditation efforts have been a smooth and streamlined process.

Work doesn’t stop when we achieve reaccreditation. We look at best practice and carry out our own internal audits to scrutinise our performance going forward. Quarterly meetings are held to discuss the inputs and outputs of our IMS, to ensure continued effectiveness. It’s all about continuous improvement, and I’m extremely proud to be able to report that our results show we’re achieving this.

To finalise, we were successfully reaccredited to information security standard ISO 27001 in January of this year. This is a challenging standard with very different requirements, so we continue to manage this as a standalone project. We had also targeted to achieve energy management standard ISO 50001 by 2025 and I’m pleased to report we’re ahead of schedule, expecting to achieve accreditation in 2024.”

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Aren't We All Experts?

NAEP Logo 2023

The theme of the recent 25th anniversary annual conference of the Association of Equipment Providers was “integration”. I’ve been around health and social care systems for more than 15 years now, long enough to recognise a pattern.

When the going gets tough, organisations rearrange themselves.

Although the reasons are more pressing than ever, this time there is more emphasis on data and there was a very interesting presentation from Professor John Bolton.

He told us that the outcomes of reablement and community services, of which Medequip is a partner, are only partly dependent on the efficiency and effectiveness of said services. The experience of people whilst they are in hospital differs across hospital trusts and has an impact on where they are discharged from hospital to and how well they can recover.

So, integration is really important, to make sure organisations within the NHS and their local authority, voluntary sector and private sector partners are all working well together and keeping the person at the centre of our thinking. But this integration can’t be one size fits all and has to recognize the pressures, capacity and strength of local communities and institutions.

Otherwise it’s just rearranging the deckchairs.

The NAEP audience heard a very powerful presentation from Gill Creighton. She used her OT expertise in equipment and training people in moving and handling techniques, to reflect on what it was like from her own personal experience of illness and disability when she herself had to be moved and handled. As well as the clinical and technical lessons she had for the therapists in the audience, there was one thing that stood out for me. What notice do we take of how people feel when they are being moved and handled? How do we see people as experts?

Medequip have had its own experience in asking itself this question.

Thanks to the involvement of people with lived experience in producing our new generation of surveys, we are now asking people how they feel about the difference the equipment we provide has made, as well as their experience of the delivery, maintenance or collection. Just asking people how they feel starts different conversations.

You know how some people shout out their challenges? They use capitals, bold, loud voices or attention-grabbing messages. Well, the two speakers at the end of the first day did exactly the opposite.

Through their quiet but powerful presentations Bryonny Shannon and Anna Severwright challenged the very core of the current system. Asking us all to stop using language that sets people apart, and to make sure people who use services are at the centre of everything we do............and not just metaphorically. On the Teams call, round the table, in the room. For the direction, implementation and reviewing of what is happening across the system.

So, in the mind of a non-expert, there seems to me a few key challenges for the architects of the latest push on integration.

Make your changes on who reports to who, how the money flows and which meeting can make what decisions.

But at the same time put in the work to build proper partnerships.

Most importantly with the people who ultimately pay for them and use them to help them lead their lives.

Families, neighbours and communities need to be involved too. If the system supports them and doesn’t take them for granted they will continue propping up our underfunded systems.

Community organisations, large and small will always be involved and bring in a significant amount of other peoples’ money through grants and fundraising, but all too often we see statutory organisations creating barriers to funding, other forms of support and partnership working needed to coordinate and focus activity where it’s most needed. And I don’t mean according to a LA or NHS performance indicator. I mean what a local community says is important to them.

And let’s not forget the private sector, without whom the whole system would fall apart. I’m not here to get into the politics of all this, but the private sector is an integral part of our lives, in nearly every respect. There needs to be close oversight of this in the care sector to stop the worst kind of private sector organisations simply extracting money from the public sector. Luckily for us we are seeing increasing numbers of tenders emphasizing that providers need to bring their own innovation and partnership-working skills to the table, along with their own commitment to treating people as experts.

To summarise, people with lived experience, their families and communities must be appreciated as the experts that they are.

If the people reorganising health and social care can recognise this and include people at every stage, use local data, make local decisions and stay accountable and transparent, then there is a chance good things can come from these latest integration efforts.

If it is overly prescriptive, ignores the expertise of people, communities and the private and voluntary sector organisations that work with them, if it is experienced as a top-down process, then it will be a wasted opportunity.

The experts in charge of the reorganisations need to truly believe that we are all experts.

Date:

Medequip and Healthwatch North Yorkshire Partner to Research Community Equipment Services

Healthwatch North Yorkshire Logo

As the leading provider of Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) in the UK, Medequip is committed to using co-production, engaging with local people and organisations to improve both services and outcomes. It is an increasingly vital element of the work done by Medequip in support of improved social care futures.

In North Yorkshire, Medequip has been providing community equipment services (CES) in partnership with the NHS and North Yorkshire Council since 2016. Here, the organisation is partnering with Healthwatch locally to carry out detailed research into how the service is viewed, alongside determining people’s expectations. The objective is to identify what people hope for in a vital service which is designed to keep them independent in their own homes for longer.

The first initiative, which began in February, has been developed around co-designing and delivering a detailed survey designed to collect and act on feedback from people using the Medequip service to enhance, grow and develop their independence. The survey is now launching into the community, sent out to residents accessing Medequip services across North Yorkshire. It can be accessed via the Healthwatch website and there is also a telephone option for survey responses.

A co-production model has been used to develop the content of the survey, bringing together people involved with organisations such as Disability Action Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Disability Forum and Inclusion North to devise relevant survey questions following individuals’ engagement with and experience of the Medequip service.

Once completed, the feedback received will be summarised and shared with Medequip and the public, stated Ashley Green, CEO of Healthwatch North Yorkshire. Medequip will then work with organisations across the region to develop a commitment based around this feedback to further improve the services provided in the area.

It is anticipated that the report and summary will be finalised in September of this year, when it will be launched and shared widely, including accessible formats. Everyone using Medequip services in North Yorkshire will be given a summary of the results and action plan, as well as a request for further feedback.

“It’s vital for us to encourage the people we support to give us their frank and open opinion of our services to help us improve and continue to make a positive contribution to the community,” said Darren Clark for Medequip. Using co-production and both expertise and assistance from Healthwatch North Yorkshire will help us get a clear view of how we can best develop our services into the future.

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Medequip to Showcase Independent Living Equipment at This Year's Disability Expo

Disability Expo Logo

Medequip is delighted to announce our attendance at this year's Disability Expo at ExCeL London this July, which will feature the Manage At Home Interactive Accessible Home. Our fully interactive home will feature off-the-shelf products and specialist equipment for you to try out in a realistic environment, showcasing how you can improve independent living without compromising on the feel and style of your home.

Visitors can travel through our four living spaces; the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom, which will feature just over 100 products, coming from 24 trusted brands. Custom swing tags will be attached to each product being displayed, enabling you to scan a QR code taking you to that product's page on the Manage At Home website.

Medequip Connect's Technology Expert, Kristian Knight will be available on the feature to answer all questions regarding Technology Enabled Care products in the home.

You will also have the chance to join Medequip's Occupational Therapists for a guided tour of the Interactive Accessible Home. See and learn about products to support your independence in the following tour times:

Thursday 6th July: 10.30am & 2.30pm

Friday 7th July: 10.30am & 2.30pm

We are incredibly excited to be working with the Disability Expo to deliver an exhibition space that demonstrates how equipment can be used throughout the home to enable independent living. This is a great opportunity to showcase what’s on offer to support people living with a disability and helping people to stay independent for longer.

- Alex Roberts, Medequip's Retail & Engagement Manager

The Disability Expo will take place at ExCeL London on the 6th & 7th of July.

Register for your FREE ticket

Date:

Medequip Partners with Rotherham United Community Sports Trust

Medequip Partners with Rotherham United Community Sports Trust

Partnering with charitable trusts is an important part of Medequip’s national community engagement programme, aiming to give back to the areas where the company is commissioned to provide community equipment services designed to keep people independent in their own homes for longer. As part of this strategy, Medequip is pleased to announce a new partnership with Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST) for the 2023-2024season.

RUCST is the charitable arm of Rotherham United Football Club. Working across the borough, the Trust delivers a range of initiatives in the heart of Rotherham communities, focused around education, participation in sport, health, wellbeing and inclusion.

Partnership with RUCST is a natural link for Medequip, providers of the Rotherham Integrated Equipment & Wheelchair Service (REWS) on behalf of NHS South Yorkshire and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, as well as the Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service Sheffield (ICELSS) on behalf of NHS South Yorkshire and Sheffield City Council.

In Rotherham, funding from Medequip as part of the partnership will help to support the lives of older people living in care homes and sheltered housing, as well as supporting those living with disabilities and mental health issues. With Medequip’s help, the Trust’s Health and Wellbeing team will be able to further develop the provision of low-level physical activity in care homes and sheltered housing, playing an important role in keeping people more active and healthy.

Medequip will also be funding football equipment for the Trust’s disability football provision, as well as offering apprenticeships, work experience and placement opportunities for RUCST participants and students.

In return, Medequip will receive a range of exclusive opportunities including the chance to host a charity football tournament at the RUCST Parkgate Astro and attendance at RUFC home games throughout the season to promote the organisation and the services provided.

Colan Leung, Health and Wellbeing Manager at RUCST, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to partner with an organisation that aligns with our vision to help make a real difference to the people within our community.

“Over the last few years, we have worked with more than 12 care homes and sheltered housing facilities in Rotherham to provide different kinds of sessions and now, thanks to our partnership with Medequip we can deliver even more tailored activities, to even more people across Rotherham. By partnering with organisations like Medequip who already support the people of Rotherham, it helps us to create a bigger impact in the community.

Martyn Rowntree, Operations Manager at Medequip, said: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the Community Trust to bring forth a range of local initiatives in Rotherham. At Medequip, we believe in identifying and supporting local organisations where we can make a significant impact, both through financial assistance and event volunteering.

“Our sponsorship initiatives are an integral part of our national community engagement and co-production commitments, and we are proud to be working alongside RUCST to contribute to their community activities. This partnership highlights our commitment to making a positive impact in the local area and reinforces our dedication to being an active and responsible business."

Date:

Journeys, Roadmaps and the Importance of Keeping Going

I don’t have a background in social care so I have mixed feelings about commenting on this report but anything with the word “roadmap” is like honey to a bear for someone who supports social care through providing community equipment and the like.

We’re all aware of the significant issues facing what we know as social care, and I had my own experiences recently with my mother-in-law as mentioned in a previous article.

But as a lifelong fan of Newcastle United I’ve learned to learn from the doom merchants but be motivated by more positive voices.

So, although this ADASS report covers familiar ground, and doesn’t underestimate the short and long term tasks, I was heartened to see so much optimism about the future possibilities.

And, especially pleased to see the central role of co-production with people who draw on support, and the reference to the Social Care Future vision and the Making it Real framework developed by Think Local, Act Personal.

The world of Community Equipment has never been seen as a top priority in regards to its place in discussions on funding, the workforce challenges, and the personalisation of outcomes.

But the times they are a-changing.

At the Medequip-sponsored National Association of Equipment Providers annual conference this year we will hear from a range of speakers, including a new voice for Adult Social Care, Bryonny Shannon and one of the architects of the Social Care Future movement, Anna Severwright

And, Medequip has been on its own journey.

From changes to our process of collecting feedback, work alongside Community Catalysts, Healthwatch and local community organisations, to setting up our national co-production group, Equipment Matters, to both challenge and support this journey.

We’ve even held out our hand to local authorities who want to continue providing their own in-house community equipment services, as a partner in their own journey.

I won’t try and summarise any more of the report, there are many voices better placed to do this than I, but as ADASS and the authors say…..

“That means this is a challenge to all of us. To Directors of Adult Social Services, to lead change with our communities, so care and support genuinely enables people to live fulfilling lives. To our public service partners, corporate colleagues and providers in the private and voluntary sectors, who all need to contribute to a better future. And to everyone in England to participate in a bigger public conversation about the importance of care and support and to agree a new social contract on how to fund social care and what we can expect from it”.

If you are one of Medequip’s existing partners, are considering buying our services from a framework or are thinking about how the provision of community equipment can improve outcomes in your area in the context of the ADASS roadmap, why not get in touch with me for a chat.

David Griffiths, Managing Director, Medequip
d.griffiths@medequip-uk.com

Date:

Hema Spreads the Medequip Word

Hema Mistry

Medequip’s new Business Development Manager, Hema Mistry brings with her a wealth of experience in public sector procurement as well as personal networking. Hema is focusing on getting the message out there to local authorities and community organisations covering what Medequip does, and how we do it differently. She’ll be liaising with ‘in-house’ providers to understand what’s important to them as we continue to #ShareTheJourney.

What was your background before you joined Medequip?

I joined Medequip from a local authority post with responsibility for contracts, so I was aware of Community Equipment Services and the role they play in social care. Prior to that, I worked in education for ten years. I loved the local authority role, the connection with the community and supporting prescribers on what were often very complex issues. The outcomes, when you know an individual has received a really great service, are so rewarding.

Have you always been involved with community organisations?

I’ve always been committed to being community-based, in my personal life as well as my professional career. I’ve been involved in a residents association, part of a wider Safer Neighbourhood ward panel scheme since inception, and I’m now a board member of the Brent Police Independent Advisory Group, supporting initiatives like women walking safely in parks. I was also selected as a candidate for our local elections last year, and although I didn’t win, it was the connections with the community at grass roots level and the links I made that meant this was such a great experience for me.

How did you find your first few months with Medequip?

Working at local authority level, I gained a very real insight into how commissioners and prescribers operate and the challenges they face. When I came to Medequip, it was a revelation to see at first hand how the other side of the service works to meet their expectations.

I spent time with technicians on the road and recognised what a very complex service this is. The dynamics are totally different, dealing with people as individuals and helping them in very practical ways. It’s a provision that demands real flexibility as people’s needs differ so much. I have seen the commitment of technicians who won’t leave an installation until the person they are helping is completely happy with how to use their equipment to its best potential, regardless of the long list of calls they still have to make!

This is where I believe Medequip is particularly good in terms of the ability to make a connection with the people we serve, demonstrating real empathy. We know we’re dealing with providing equipment to people when they are at their most vulnerable, and I’m proud of how well we do that.

How do you see your role developing?

Different locations have different dynamics, and I’m looking to find out how we can do things in a different way. Medequip is looking to work within the communities where we provide a service, engaging with local groups to find out what is required for that area and that community. I’m also looking to learn about how in-house providers work, and how we can communicate to share knowledge and best practice as part of our #Share the Journey initiative.

We plan to develop further links and connections with our communities, letting people and associations know that there is equipment out there available to them and how this can change a person’s life, both in terms of support and a level of independence. In short, we’re letting people know about Medequip’s potential into the future as well as our current capacities.

Date:

Recognising Potential – Introducing Our Youngest Depot Manager

Tiana Hanmer - Cefndy-Medequip Depot Manager

Tianna Hanmer, Contracts Manager for Cefndy-Medequip, is Medequip’s youngest ever depot manager. Here, she talks about her career path with Medequip to date, the challenges and highlights, and her aspirations for the future.

Tianna, did you envisage your career path before coming to Medequip?

Absolutely not! When I was at school, I always wanted to be a doctor. When I left school, I went into care work in a number of different roles, then worked in hospitality, eventually managing a pub. But I always had aspirations to have a job where I could make a difference.

I applied to Medequip for a customer services role at our Emersons Green depot, which I didn’t get, but I must have interviewed fairly well because I was offered a role as Team Leader for the cleaning team. My care home experience really came in useful here, because I understood the different types of equipment and their uses.

How did you move on from this role?

After 18 months, a position came up as cleaning and warehouse supervisor. I applied for this but didn’t get it, and realised I needed to broaden my experience. Having already assisted on warehousing for contract implementations, I went to our Calne depot on a secondment as warehouse team leader, which was a great learning experience.

When the Calne depot supervisor role was split into Logistics and Operations, I applied for and got the Operations Supervisor position. I’m really proud to be able to say that in this role we saw depot productivity increase, implemented new systems, improved training opportunities for everyone and also implemented co-production initiatives.

What prompted your move to Newport?

In January of this year, I was asked by Michaela Harris to support the depot on a temporary basis due to illness. After three weeks, I was offered the role on a permanent basis. At this stage, I’d only been in an ops supervisor role for a year. My goal was always to be an operations manager, but I hadn’t expected to achieve this so early, and I wanted to be 100% ready! I was encouraged by Michaela, made the decision to go for it, and have been supported all the way by the Newport team, learning as I go. So far, I’ve successfully identified opportunities for improvement, implemented new policies and procedures and improved communications.

Is the Cefndy Medequip set up different to other Medequip depots?

It is. Part of the contract requirement was for the depot to be a registered sheltered workshop, so we partner with Cefndy to achieve this. It does mean that we essentially have two teams, with staff paid by two different organisations, so communications issues can arise. Managing people I don’t actually employ requires diplomacy! We’ve worked hard to overcome this by bringing the two teams together and everything now runs very smoothly. This is a great depot with very committed people, and my background in social and mental health care has given me the insight I need to approach management issues. I consider myself very lucky to have this role.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievements to date?

I left school not expecting to be able to achieve. With Medequip, I was able to come into a job, work hard and get recognition for the effort I put in. In just three years I have achieved three significant promotions and am now in a position where I feel I’m able to make a difference.

You’re also committed to co-production and community engagement initiatives at Newport?

We are! I’m currently in the middle of putting together a co-production focus group including both Medequip and Cefndy staff. We release people to volunteer at our local RSPCA charity shop, and allocate a driver bi-weekly to deliver and collect on their behalf. We’ve also been involved in support for earthquake victims in Turkey. We work with a charity here in Newport supporting victims of the war in Ukraine, and have collected stock from shops and churches, bringing it back to the depot, palletising it and loading it onto lorries bound for Ukraine. There’s been a drop off in support for Ukraine, but it’s still desperately needed. I’m working on involving Medequip depots at a more national level in the Ukraine efforts, acting as collection points to bring donations to Newport then from here to Ukraine – it’s a work in progress!

Aspirations for the future?

I’d like to complete a project management qualification and continue being a manager on a bigger scale with the ability to impact positively on people’s lives. I really enjoy working for Medequip, and would like to take this opportunity to thank my manager Michaela Harris for all her support. She believed in me, recognised how hard I was working, saw the potential and helped me to be where I am today.

Date:

Medequip Mobilises for Alzheimer's Society Trek 26

Volunteer team for Trek 26 in front of Medequip Van

Following Medequip’s support last year for the Alzheimer’s Society Trek 26 fundraising initiative in South Devon, we’re delighted to be able to expand our involvement for 2023. Volunteer teams from Medequip will assist with Trek 26 projects in many of the areas where we operate community equipment contracts and have people on the ground happy and enthusiastic to support the work of the Society.

Trek 26 is a fundraising initiative set up by the Alzheimer’s Society. Participants walk 13 or 26 miles in scenic locations across the UK, raising money to help people whose lives have been devastated by dementia. It’s an initiative requiring significant logistical support from volunteers, and our Medequip teams are ideally placed to help out.

Teams from Medequip depots in London, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, Rotherham and Sheffield, Wiltshire, Bristol, Somerset and Newport will deploy to help out at Trek 26 walks in London, the Lake District, the North York Moors, the Peak District, Stonehenge and South Devon.

Our support roles will primarily be at the all-important water points. Here, our volunteers will attend with a Medequip vehicle early in the morning on the day of the event, having collected equipment from a main event hub including marquees, tables, chairs, water bottles and water stands. They will manage the water points for the duration of the event before packing up and returning the equipment ready for reuse.

The Trek 26 organisers were really impressed with the work we did as an organisation in 2022, and have welcomed our input for the 2023 events. “At Medequip, we’re extremely proud to be able to support the various Trek 26 events across the country,” stated Michaela Harris, Medequip’s general manager for the South West and Suffolk. “Our commitment to volunteering allows us to use staff from across the business to support this fundraising initiative and endorses the Medequip partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society. We continue to fundraise internally, and support various events as so many of the people who work for Medequip have friends and family who have suffered with Alzheimer’s, as well as the fact we support a lot of people with dementia through the service Medequip provides to the NHS and local authorities.“

Date:

Our Commitment to Community Engagement

Medequip Community Engagement

As part of Medequip's commitment to community engagement and volunteering, each depot aims to give something back to the areas they serve. Last year, Medequip staff went above and beyond, serving their local communities by supporting charitable causes on top of their busy work schedules. From food and clothes donations to sponsoring local children's sports initiatives, we saw the highest amount of charitable events attended or created by our staff in years. 2023 is shaping up to be even more co-productive – take a look at our plans!

Medequip Community Engagement Map
Date:

Age Is Just a Number...

William Cooksey standing in front of number 10 Downing Street with a Dietz TAiMA XC rollator

At Medequip, we often get requests for assistance from charity fundraisers, and we always try to help where we can. But a request which came in this year via Neil Glaister from our Newton Aycliffe depot was one we simply couldn’t resist!

Meet William Cooksey, who’s been fundraising for the NHS since the COVID epidemic. He’s already completed a 100 mile walk and a 1000 mile trike ride, raising thousands of pounds. He’s now registered to take part in the Great North Run.

Admirable, you say, but lots of people are dedicated fundraisers. The difference is that when he sets off on the Great North Run, RAF veteran Bill will be 102 years young. He’s the oldest person ever to register to take part, and is already in training.

So how could we help? During his 100 mile walk, Bill had worn out his old rollator. For the Great North Run – which he will compete at a walking pace – he needed a more sophisticated walking aid with extra-large wheels for a smoother ride, even on rough terrain.

Through Medequip’s retail arm Manage At Home, we’ve supplied Bill with a Dietz TAiMA XC all-terrain outdoor rollator. It’s easier on the joints that his old model, and even has reflectors and steering dampers! On 19th April, Bill was invited to Downing Street and Westminster by the local MP for Sedgefield Paul Howell to watch a film about the Great North Run – you can see him on the steps of Downing Street with the aforementioned rollator!

His training regime isn’t for the faint-hearted. He’s currently averaging 10 miles a day, on a route which takes him along a railway path between Newton Aycliffe and Shildon, and Network Rail have given permission for local schoolchildren to put up ‘Good Luck Bill’ posters along his route to cheer him on!

Best of luck, Bill, we’ll all be looking out for you on 10th September when the starting gun sets off the Great North Run!

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Ross Care joins Medequip

Ross Care joins Medequip

Medequip, the UK's leading provider of community equipment services, has announced the acquisition of wheelchair specialists Ross Care from Millbrook Healthcare Group. The move is designed to enhance Medequip's scope and range of services across its community equipment contracts nationwide, with the in-house ability to provide total solutions.

Ross Care enjoys an established reputation for quality and service alongside an operational philosophy which closely mirrors Medequip’s own. Both organisations put the focus on providing affordable, accessible, and person-centered healthcare solutions in the community, developed around the efficient supply of products and services.

The synergy between the two organisations is already proven as Medequip and Ross Care have existing partnerships in place. The two organisations have already worked together to offer combined community equipment and wheelchair service contracts for some years. In these localities, Ross Care provides the wheelchair element of the contracts, enabling Medequip to deliver a comprehensive offering to people, social prescribers, councils, and NHS Trusts.

James Ibbotson, CEO of Medequip, commented on the acquisition. “We are pleased to welcome the well-respected name of Ross Care to the Medequip family,” he stated. “The Ross Care business is complementary to our core equipment services provision, enhancing our knowledge and expertise and enabling us to expand our service portfolio to cover wheelchair services.”

James Paramore, Managing Director of Ross Care, adds: "We are delighted to be joining Medequip and look forward to the exciting opportunities this acquisition will bring. Our combined strengths will enable us to capitalise on each other’s market leading expertise, accelerate growth and benefit from the combined buying power generated by joining together. We are confident that our shared values will ensure a successful future together.

About Ross Care

Ross Care has over 60 years’ experience in delivering high quality wheelchairs services and is the leading specialist provider and approved repairer in the UK. With unrivalled heritage, and a leading reputation for clinical quality and governance, Ross Care’s differentiated end-to-end service proposition covers the entire service user pathway. This includes catering to the needs of highly complex service users through our market leading manufacturer Consolor. Securing its first outsourced contract in the 1970s, Ross Care has grown to operate 40 long term contracts across England and Wales, covering 45% of the population and providing services to nearly 400,000 wheelchair service users. Operating out of 25 service centres, with the head office located in Wallasey, Ross Care has a turnover of over £38m and employs nearly 500 team members.

Medequip was advised on the transaction by Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP (legal) and Deloitte (financial and taxation).

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Medequip awarded the Essex Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service contract

Welcome to Essex

We’re delighted to announce that Medequip has been awarded the contract to become the new provider of the Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service (ICELS) for Essex County Council and its partners, starting 1 July 2023. Partners include; East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Mid & South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Thurrock Council.

This announcement marks an important milestone for Medequip and our ongoing commitment to providing high-quality community equipment services to those in need, giving particular focus to customer experience, innovation and social value.

The ICELS is a vital service that provides equipment designed to help individuals who have disabilities, long-term illnesses or who are recovering from surgery or accidents, to live more independently and improve their quality of life. Examples of equipment provided include walking frames, hoists, beds and pressure care equipment.

As the new provider of ICELS for Essex County Council and its partners, Medequip will be responsible for the supply, delivery, installation, maintenance and collection of equipment prescribed by a healthcare professional. We will work closely with the council and its partners to ensure that the service is delivered efficiently, effectively, and with the highest level of customer service.

Commenting on the announcement, Managing Director David Griffiths said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for the Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service in Essex. We are committed to providing the highest quality of service to all our customers and look forward to working with Essex County Council and partners to support Essex residents."

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “It is critical that the equipment we provide to our residents enables them to maximise and maintain their independence, particularly when returning home from hospital. Our expectation is this equipment not only matches their needs but also keeps pace with innovations in the market. We believe both these goals will be met in this contract and are delighted to be working with Medequip.”

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Co-production in Action – Making It Easier to Return Community Equipment

Durham and Darlington Amnesty Bin Drop off point

For community equipment service providers like Medequip, it’s never been more important to ensure equipment like walking frames, commodes and perching stools are returned for recycling once they are no longer required. All too often, these items are left in attics or garages, with no clear route back into stock for reuse.

Medequip has been working closely on initiatives with Durham ICB, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Darlington Borough Council & Tees Valley ICB to increase the recycling and reuse rates by making it easy and convenient for people to return unwanted equipment, reducing costs and providing more sustainable solutions.

Last year, a series of successful ‘returns roadshows’ across the county saw thousands of pounds worth of forgotten equipment brought back into circulation. Promoted widely in the locality and held in supermarket car parks, these events saw many thousands of pieces of serviceable equipment returned by local people for cleaning and reuse.

This year, another important initiative is being scheduled which will see special bins placed in household waste recycling centres across the county. There are currently three sites already operational, with the locations clearly marked by Medequip banners and bin stickers. A map of the locations can be found here. Further sites will be added as the campaign progresses.

The initiative is being promoted via local press and social media links, and it is anticipated that the returns rate will rise correspondingly. “Co-Production has been a key process. Working together to achieve outcomes is the best way of delivering results! We now have a solution in making equipment returns easier for people using our service thanks to public engagement sessions and co-production groups.” Jonathan Gartland, Medequip Operations Manager, Newton Aycliffe.

Medequip already achieves excellent recycling rates across its community equipment services contracts. Although not every item is suitable for recycling, with single use items such as ventilators and continence aids, currently 77% of all equipment delivered by Medequip is successfully collected once it is no longer required. Of this 77%, 91% is successfully recycled; the remaining 9% consists of items considered no longer fit for purpose due to damage or excessive wear and tear. Here, Medequip has a policy of salvaging parts that can then be used to repair other items and return them to service.

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Introducing: The Equipment Matters Group

An early view from one of the Medequip staff members of this new group. Several years ago, we challenged ourselves to get better at listening to people who use our services.

We learned about the “ladder of co-production” from Think Local Act Personal Ladder of Coproduction | TLAP | social care (thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk) and started a process of self-reflection based on the social model of disability.

Around the country we have been lucky enough to have been helped and advised by local organisations like Healthwatch, as we get better at listening to and working alongside people who use our services.

But we wanted to make sure co-production was at the heart of our organisation, and to understand what that meant for an independent provider.

So, supported by Community Catalysts, a social enterprise with experience of working in communities, our original idea was to bring together a small group of people who use services, people from the voluntary sector and a few Medequip staff to make sure we were doing our best in co-production and to be something of a “Medequip Account Group”.

We have had three meetings so far and already the group has started to exert its independence from Medequip.

It has changed its name to “Equipment Matters”. The group chose this name because equipment matters to many disabled and older people, not just those who use our services at Medequip. The group wanted Medequip to understand that it was not just interested in helping Medequip to improve, people wanted to influence the wider conversations on how equipment can help people more generally.

So far the Medequip staff have been asked to stop speaking so much in meetings and to stop framing conversation in terms of what the contract requires of us! I’m paraphrasing but the very clear challenge to our improvement ambitions, was “stop hiding behind your commissioners”.

We are working through various aspects of “the service” and have so far looked at Information and the Delivery Speeds and Experience. When they are ready the group will produce an update on priorities and progress. The members agreed that the group needs to agree any work done or communications in its name.

Before the group started there were a number of internal conversations in Medequip about how this group would work alongside service improvement, organisational development and our formal decision making. I expect the people on the Equipment Matters group will listen very politely to our suggestions…then equally politely make their own decision.

I’m learning that the ladder of co-production is hard to climb, and that as you climb you can often end up seeing the world differently. I suspect that’s the point.

Equipment Matters

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Medequip Celebrate Big Thank You Day Awards

Andy Phillips hosting Medequip's Big Thank You Day Awards

In February, colleagues from across the country came together for Medequip's Annual Big Thank You Day event at Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire. The event is a yearly reminder of how much each member of staff means to the company, with people nominated by their peers for the work they do, in recognition of their skills and abilities. This was the first time the event has taken place ’live’ rather than virtually since the pandemic, which made this year’s BTYD an even more special occasion.

Identifying our top 3.5%!

To recognise and celebrate individual and team achievements across the organisation, the committee in charge of choosing the final nominees and eventual winners had a harder time than ever, picking through a record 348 nominations. Event Host and Business Development Lead, Andy Phillips started as usual with the maths, stating that Medequip has 1,200 staff members across the country, meaning that if your nomination was shortlisted, you ranked amongst the top 3.5% of the company. If you win, you count amongst the top 1%.

Medequip employees at The Big Thank You Day Awards

With a wider range of submissions than ever, demonstrating the simply amazing feats that nominees and winners this year had achieved within their job roles, so many of our colleagues have gone above and beyond expectations and deserve acknowledgement.

Championing Partnership and Engagement

New to this year's awards, the Partnership and Engagement Award went to Marketing's Joe Woodvine, who worked on setting up 'Community Independence Champions'. This project takes guidance from professionals, creating a co-designed structure for Medequip's approach to the voluntary sector, and shows support and better information sharing with organisations helping our demographic. Runners-up were Andrea Clifton and the Ipswich Depot, for their hard work in co-production and community engagement.

Living the Medequip Values

The Living Medequip Values award was rightfully claimed by Lee Charles and Laura Croome from our Alfreton depot, who went above and beyond whilst out on a delivery when they found the client unwell and his distressed wife waiting for an ambulance. Not only did they offer support, but they undertook CPR until help arrived, and then supported the client's wife in what was a most traumatic time for her. Leyland depot's John Gannon and Woolwich's Samantha Smith were both also nominated in the category for their commitment to taking on further responsibilities beyond their daily tasks, ensuring that their respective depots thrive through the hard work and dedication that they put in each and every day.

All about Teamwork

In a Big Thank You Day first, there was a tie in the Team of the Year award, with our Brighouse depot sharing the spoils with the SHEQ & Training team. Despite a challenging year including a change in depot manager, the team at the Brighouse depot kept the service going to a very high standard, passing audits with ease along the way, highlighting the resilience, dedication and teamwork they display every day. Equally worthy, the SHEQ & Training team made continual improvements within the business for external accreditations, not only keeping the business risk-free but also keeping our Medequip workforce safe. Also nominated was the hard-working Stafford warehouse team who achieved great things last year supporting Manage At Home.

Recognising and Celebrating Long Service

As well as the 13 allocated awards presented, Long Service Awards were also celebrated, naming a total of 17 colleagues who have been working in the business for more than 10 years and four for more than 15 years. Heathrow's Cliff Bridger was this year's only 20 years recipient, whereas Claire Field received a notable 25 years award.

Congratulations to all our winners, our runners up and those who were nominated this year!

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Medequip Connect Staff Reflect on ITEC Exhibition

The Medequip Connect team on the Medequip Connect stand at ITEC

This year’s TSA ITEC exhibition talked about “the potential of technology to personalise support, empowering people and families to achieve their aspirations and control their own lives.” Here, Medequip Connect’s Tessa Duell and Chris Chung talk about how they viewed the event and discuss how their own experiences and understanding of the impact of TEC are developing.

What was your overall impression of this year’s ITEC Conference?

Tessa

I found it very well managed and insightful. It’s my second ITEC experience, and I approached it better this year. Last year I was new to TEC and found it almost overwhelming, trying to attend absolutely everything and soak up as much information as possible. This year, I took a more selective approach to make the most of the event, attending specific workshops and plenary sessions based on my interests and relevance to my role at Medequip.

Chris

It was my first ITEC, and I absolutely loved it – maybe I was even too enthusiastic! It was a great opportunity to meet lots of suppliers in person and build a rapport, as well as explaining exactly what Medequip Connect does and our ethos in how we’re doing it.

It was also an eye opener in many ways. My experience to date in the industry has been with Medequip Connect, and it was rewarding to realise that we’re clearly ahead of the curve in terms of important issues like the digital switchover.

Tessa

It also demonstrated to me that care technology devices and peripherals are all quite similar. The deciding factor is how we implement and use this technology to make the most of TEC, choosing suppliers that are keeping pace with the ever-evolving industry and keeping people and their real needs as the focus of everything we do. It’s the service that differentiates.

You’re both relatively new to the TEC sector. What are your thoughts on how it is developing?

Tessa

At ITEC last year, I had the sense of entering into a sector which is really in flux, with CCGs becoming ICBs and the issue of the digital switchover and how that’s going to affect everything we do moving forward. This year, it felt more homed in on that broader focus on public health and social care and how TEC services were positioning and working to make a transformative difference to people’s lives.

It’s also increasingly about doing co production and personalisation right, finding out what matters to the people who use our services and making informed decisions with these people in mind. You can’t just lift and shift solutions, that’s been a big take-home for me as a Bid Writer.

Chris

I was first introduced to TEC a year ago, having previously worked in other sectors, so my awareness of TEC is recent, and I’m learning all the time!

My experience is based on our contract here in Dorset, where Medequip Connect partners with Dorset Council to deliver TEC support services to around 1,000 individuals. We try to make everything relatable to people in how we provide our services, promoting independent living, and I’m feeling for the first time that what I do can genuinely make a positive impact on other people’s lives.

My observation is that TEC is currently becoming involved in people’s lives at too late a stage. It’s an industry that’s needed, but people in general aren’t aware of the real potential. TEC is not just for vulnerable people, but for everyone. It should really be introduced to our lives not just when people can’t help themselves any more, but at a point where it can extend and enhance people’s independence, promoting real quality of life and safety.

TEC will be an important tool in helping to people to achieve the ‘gloriously ordinary life’ – the aspirational objective voiced by the Social Care Future vision.

Tessa

Absolutely. People in our communities need TEC now. It’s not just about technology enabled care but technology enabled living. With TEC we have a real opportunity to improve independent quality of life, not just for individuals but also for their families and carers.

Larger institutions can be inherently resistant to change, but private businesses like Medequip Connect don’t face the same barriers. As a private business, we are more agile to change. We also make sure we are held to account by the people who use our services through independent forums such as Healthwatch for example.

Our commitment to co production involving stakeholders and the people who use our services makes me feel privileged to work in this sector, and proud to work for a company with such a positive workplace culture.

Chris

TEC has the potential to help people of all ages and abilities to self manage their own needs, delivering a route to independence to keep people safe, healthy and happy at home.

The recent report entitled ‘Technology-Enabled Lives: Delivering Outcomes for People and Providers’ https://tec-action.org.uk/challenge-paper-technology-enabled-lives-delivering-outcomes-for-people-and-providers/ and published by the TEC Action Alliance has highlighted the slow take-up of TEC by councils, housing and care organisations – we really need to reverse this trend.

The sector is ready for a step change - there’s never been a better and more appropriate time to invest in technology to improve social care!

Chris Chung is Operations Manager for Medequip Connect in Dorset.

Tessa Duell is Bid Writer and Content Marketer for Medequip Connect’s Business Development team.

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Songs of praise?

There are few things that can cheer me up more than a good performance from Newcastle FC. Other people saying nice things about Medequip staff and the organisation come pretty high on that list. So, I was over the moon after a few days spent at the November 2022 ADASS and ADCS conference in Manchester.

Thanks to the partners we have been working with, we made the shift from being Exhibitors to being Listeners, and it is amazing how much more you find out when you set out to listen. Especially when you include some of those partners and people with experience of using services as part of your “listening team”.

We heard from people we are working with how grateful they were for our efforts to keep things going, despite the pandemic and the global supply issues.

We heard from people we are not working with how interested they were in the clinical and community developments we are working on.

We heard from a lot of people running their own in-house services how they were moving from surprise, to curiosity and on to consideration, of the Medequip and Community Catalysts project offer to Share the Journey.

And along with most of the attendees, we heard that despite the many issues facing us, the #socialcarefuture vison is a powerful, engaging and compelling call to action.

The Medequip team who attended the British Association of Supported Employment conference in Leeds had a great response too.

It makes perfect sense to us to be a great and inclusive place to work; it makes things better for everyone. So, it was lovely to have people complimenting us on the culture of the organisation, the employment opportunities we have created for people facing barriers and the systems we are putting in place to report on our progress.

Could I get away with a football terrace chant in praise of Medequip?

Best not. Leave it to others to sing our praises.

We’ve still got a lot of work to do.

But I’m determined that we will enjoy, and Share the Journey.

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Sharing the Journey: The Challenge of Delivering the Social Care Future Vision

We all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing things that matter to us. That's the social care future we seek. #socialcarefuture

Today, Medequip, like most of the organisations working to make and distribute Community Equipment, is guided by a mission statement and an overarching purpose, in addition to providing a return to shareholders.

But is it enough to focus on vulnerability, independence, physical impairments and all the things we associate with other people?

The statement above was produced by Social Care Future. Not an organisation, but a movement of people who draw on social care and their allies, whose primary goal is to reframe social care as something that affects us all. In summary, working to achieve the objective of ‘a gloriously ordinary life’ everyone should have the right to enjoy.

Medequip and the Social Care Future Community of Practice

At Medequip, we know that over 10% of our staff live with a long-term condition. If you add to that number those who provide care and support to family members, friends and neighbours, those who are active in their communities and those that are seriously ill from time to time, it’s a significant part of our community.

So, we were really pleased to be invited alongside with other organisations to develop and co-present a workshop session for the Social Care Future Community of Practice in November 2022.

Inspired by a powerful presentation by Jennifer Pearl https://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/Blog/Title-Co-production-and-community-equipment-provision/ and working with other people who draw on care, Community Catalysts and Think Personal, Act Local, we planned a session that would challenge ourselves and others to think about how the Community Equipment services, however they are delivered could help achieve the Social Care Future vision.

Recognising the challenges

We are all aware of the long-term debates on how things should be organised in the health and social care systems. We also know there will be more people with more complex support needs and that there are financial and workforce limitations.

But we also know from talking to people, that they want things to be better today and tomorrow.

If not, their basic quality of life and dignity are compromised.

The workshop session gave us a valuable opportunity to share our ideas, frustrations, inspirations and work-arounds, identifying things we could do quickly to make a real difference.

Key learning points from the workshop session

For the services we provide:

  • If we want to understand how community equipment services can support the Social Care Future vision, we have to learn to work alongside people who use services at every step.
  • We need to be aware that people currently experience a variety of different models of community equipment service, with different service standards and targets.
  • Most services are under strain, and find it hard to support individual outcomes with their level of funding and staff. In these situations the focus can shift to managing activity speeds and controlling costs, either through limiting equipment on ‘the catalogue’ or by setting up ‘spend panels’.
  • There are some particular challenges with ‘specials’, those items that are not included in the main list of items that can be prescribed and delivered.
  • Community Equipment services are fundamental to many aspects of how the health and social care system works. Therefore, they need to be considered by commissioners when they launch new initiatives, e.g. to speed up hospital discharge, use more residential and nursing care beds, or provide support to people with more complex needs in their own homes.

Listening to the individuals

  • Peoples’ time is important so flexibility and real-time updates are as important as delivery speeds and waiting times.
  • We need more focus on checking in with people and doing inclusive reviews as there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of equipment not being used properly, or at all.
  • Peoples’ real experiences can be of poor communication and coordination between the services that are supposed to support them. Problems with equipment delivery or use can be a symptom of this.
  • There needs to be both more information, and more support, for people who choose, or have to, make their own arrangements.

Listening to the people working to make improvements - things we need to share

  • General information sharing through websites and other online resources as well as opportunities to learn from each other.
  • Specific information on activity levels, pricing models, equipment costs, and recycling rates.
  • Processes for the management of specials including benchmarking information.
  • Experience of using demonstration smart homes or smart spaces for people to try equipment before they buy it.
  • Experience of different methods of collecting feedback (including the Medequip co-produced feedback survey)
  • Examples of business cases that can be used to model an evidenced best practice, eg cost avoidance, budget savings, prevention approaches, the whole life cost of better quality equipment, the impact on other budget areas of an underperforming, or underbudgeted community equipment service.
  • Information from many pilot projects, for example where doublehanded care has been reduced by the provision of equipment and training.

So what can we do next to make real improvements?

  • Shift the focus to outcomes and what difference the service makes to people - don’t just count spending and measure activity.
  • Check your communication strategy and plan is built around what people using services have said they need and would find useful.
  • Make sure you and your partner organisations, including voluntary and community sector organisations, are communicating well together.
  • Share your learning and make sure you have allowed time for your staff to learn from each other, from people who use services and from people in other organisations.
  • Think how the organisation is helping people who want to make their own arrangements for equipment and technology. What local arrangements are there for people to see and try equipment and technology?
  • Training on the preventative benefits of simple aids to daily living should be provided more widely.
  • Refresh and restate your commitment to co-production with people who use services, prescribers and providers. Sign up to the Social Care Future movement and attend future events at https://socialcarefuture.org.uk/join-in/
  • Use the Think Local, Act Personal ‘Making it Real’ framework when you are monitoring or reviewing the services you commission or provide. https://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/makingitreal/

Make it personal every time. Adult social care impacts on the lives of over 10 million people in England alone, and at some point, most of us will provide care for a loved one, or need care ourselves.

Medequip will continue to promote the Social Care Future vision whenever, and wherever we can. We see direct references to it, and the language it uses popping up with the statutory services we work with and in some invitation to tender documents.

The vision was used by Sarah McClinton, the President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in her opening address to their conference in November 2022.

It informed the Church of England Archbishops’ Commission, "Care and Support Reimagined" Care and Support Reimagined A National Care Covenant for England (Summary).pdf (churchofengland.org) and has been included within the approach proposed by the Labour Party.

Medequip is not a campaigning organisation, but we have a view on what works and what doesn’t.

We hope our statutory and voluntary sector partners will work with the people who use our services, Medequip, or whoever provides community equipment, to keep improving.

After all, who is not moved by the Social Care Future vision, with its emphasis on home, love and community?

And who wouldn’t want “a gloriously ordinary life”?

(A version of this article first appeared in the membership newsletter of the National Association of Equipment Providers in March 2023)

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Medequip Partners With Somerset Cricket Foundation

Medequip Partners With Somerset Cricket Foundation

Putting the focus on co-production and community engagement, community equipment specialists Medequip have further expanded their portfolio of partnerships with local organisations, partnering with the Somerset Cricket Foundation.

Medequip’s objective is to use sponsorship agreements to support organisations with established performance records in improving the lives of people living in the areas where the company operates equipment services contracts.

Medequip is commissioned to provide an integrated community equipment service in Somerset, with operations for the area coming out of a depot in the County Town of Taunton since August 2022. Prior to this, Medequip's Emerson's Green depot in Bristol controlled the contract for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG). With Somerset the only county in the UK where cricket is the biggest sport, partnering with the Somerset Cricket Foundation was an obvious choice.

The Foundation is a registered charity which aims to make cricket safe, inspiring and inclusive, using the sport to engage and inspire local clubs and communities. With a strategic plan for 2020 to 2025 linked to the English Cricket Board’s Inspired Generations strategy, the organisation was seeking financial support to help adults with disabilities to become active, healthier and happier through cricket.

Medequip’s investment will support winter and summer training and development programmes, including facility hire and coaching resources for the teams, positively impacting communities through cricket.

Medequip is joining other Somerset Cricket Foundation partners including Chance to Shine, a national charity aiming to give all children the opportunity to play, learn and develop through cricket, and the Lord’s Taverners. The objective is to use the power of cricket to develop communities and make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“At Medequip, we’re conscious that our work is all about serving the people in the areas where we work,” stated Medequip’s Managing Director David Griffiths. “We have a programme for identifying and supporting local organisations where we feel we can make a difference, both through financial assistance and through Medequip personnel volunteering at events and fundraisers. Our sponsorship initiatives are increasingly forming an important part of our national community engagement and co-production commitments.”

Plans are already in place for the 2023 season, including involvement with the Foundation’s second Discover ABILITY Day, involving schools and community groups supporting young people with additional needs and disabilities.

For further information, please contact Clive Rymer via email at clive.rymer@medequip-uk.com

For Information and Updates on Somerset Cricket Foundation, follow them on social media under the handle @SomCricketFDN

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Medequip Partners with Healthwatch Kirklees to Enhance Community Equipment Services

Healthwatch Kirklees

Seeking to driving constant improvement in the community equipment services they provide, Medequip have been working closely with Healthwatch Kirklees to engage with the people using these services. The objective is to give individuals a platform and a voice to express their experiences and be heard by the providers.

Community engagement is a priority for Medequip, partnering with independent organisations like Healthwatch and Community Catalysts to integrate co-production into every area of the business. The key focus in Kirklees is to encourage a two way conversation and provide a better service to the people who rely on community equipment service to maintain their independence.

Encouraging independent feedback

The first initiative promoted by Healthwatch Kirklees and Medequip was an ‘Independent Living Forum’, creating an opportunity for people to give feedback on Medequip’s services as well as providing a method for signposting the best ways to access assessments and equipment.

The forums proved a valuable initiative to start off the engagement process. However, both Healthwatch and Medequip were seeking a more sustained approach to encourage ongoing feedback, not just from individuals attending the events but also from the people reliant on Medequip services for their independence in everyday life.

Healthwatch Kirklees recommended that feedback be captured in a number of different ways. In addition to a detailed questionnaire, the organisation made the decision to promote a direct opportunity for people to give feedback on Medequip’s services by leaving a review on the Healthwatch Kirklees website.

very good

October 5, 2022

"This is the first time we have used Medequip services and had a key safe fitted. The person who came to fit the box was really helpful asking us where we would like it placed taking into consideration our health needs. We were also told about some of the other equipment they supply."

These reviews were open to the Medequip team, who were able to respond directly to issues arising, answering questions and providing advice and guidance where required. Feedback so far has been extremely positive, with four and five star reviews and identification of a number of action points where systems can be enhanced and improved.

Caring staff

June 24, 2022

"I spoke at length with one of the team over the phone about my mobility struggles and they really helped me find what would be useful for me. I ordered a chair and some grab rails and it was delivered within the same week. They really care."

Community engagement in and around Kirklees

Importantly, community engagement has not been limited to the digital route. Medequip has also commissioned the Healthwatch Kirklees Engagement & Information Officer to spend a day each month with a Medequip technician out and about providing community equipment services across the borough of Kirklees.

This has opened up a unique opportunity to speak directly with people using Medequip services and their carers in their own homes. The initiative has proved invaluable. As well as gathering relevant feedback, this level of engagement provides a unique opportunity to share information on important issues such as support available to carers. This is now a regular, monthly activity for Healthwatch Kirklees.

“Healthwatch Kirklees has worked closely with Medequip during 2022 to help them gather more feedback about the services they provide. Healthwatch engaged with people in a variety of ways to obtain reviews, which Medequip responded to, demonstrating that they are listening and responding to people’s opinions of the service they’ve received.“

Clare Costello, Operations Manager, Healthwatch Kirklees.

“Responses have been overwhelmingly positive but have also identified areas where Medequip can learn and improve. Most importantly, they have given us an opportunity to feed back directly to people, investigating any issues arising and benefiting from the positive and rewarding feedback.”

Matt Ward, Head of Retail & Marketing, Medequip.
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Volunteering and Community Engagement: 2022 Wrap Up

Volunteering and Community Engagement: 2022 Wrap Up

As part of Medequip's ongoing commitment to community engagement and volunteering, each depot aims to give something back to the areas they serve. In 2022, Medequip staff went above and beyond serving their local communities by supporting charitable causes on top of their busy work schedules. From food and clothes donations to sponsoring local children's sports initiatives, we saw the highest amount of charitable events attended or created by staff in years.

South West

Operations Manager, Atlanta Somers and Emersons Green Warehouse team member, Tom Jenkins visited the City Farm project and donated a day to help them with the day-to-day farming/gardening projects

Luke Derrick set up an open golf day for Alzheimer's. The event raised a total of £1,030 and included staff at Medequip, Suppliers and local members at Tiverton Golf Course.

Aaron Mcguinness and Graham Organ Assisted the Trek 26 Marathon in Paignton, Devon in September for 2 days. They transported the equipment in 2 vehicles, assisted with building checkpoints and operated at a designated checkpoint on the day of the walk.

Throughout December, Emersons Green Depot Had food donation points set up and the final donation was made to Foodsentials at the end of December and distributed by the charity for those in need.

4 staff members volunteered as guides for the Big Hoot Wild Art trail in Ipswich, in previous years the trail and auction have raised between £150K and £200k for the hospice. We also dropped leaflets in December and wrapped presents for patients at the hospice

Throughout the year we delivered food parcels in Ipswich for the FIND food bank once a week, since the cost of the living crisis we have increased this to 3 days a week for as long as needed.

Staff refurbished a bench from the garden at the paediatric ward at Ipswich hospital, a second bench was beyond repair so we have donated a new bench for families to use

Newport staff have donated clothes to a local homeless shelter and all South West staff have been donating clothes to aid Syrian and Afghan Refugees

North West

A Leyland Staff member is volunteering 2 evenings per week to help coach a local kid’s football team, which Medequip Leyland has sponsored the football kit

Leyland Staff member, Steve Goodwill used two weeks of his annual leave to clean his local running track at Burnley Athletic Club for the love of the sport.

A Samsung phone paid for by Medequip Leyland has been raffled off by Blackpool Coastal Housing to raise money for local charities to help with the current dire situation in Blackpool, with homeless families. Also, the depot staff Donated presents for children in care in Blackpool, who otherwise would not receive presents at Christmas.

Medequip Bromborough sponsored West Wirral and Wallasey Scout and Guide Gang show with water bottles. Medequip staff also volunteered to be involved in backstage and first aid cover.

Staff in the Wirral volunteered at Age UK sites, offering ferrule checks and exchange of walking aids, to help in reducing falls.

North East

Alfreton Depot held a Raffle & Cake sale in November, Raising around £1,200 for the Alzheimer's society

Alfreton's Carl Sowden and Emily Cauldwell had a Brilliant day volunteering with Alzheimer’s Society at Clumber Park Memory Walk, assisting walkers and providing general support on the day

General Manager, Steve Smith and 3 other staff members slept "Under the Stars" at Wakefield Trinity Rugby ground as part of the Foundation`s support for local homeless charities, raising £255!

Medequip Newton Aycliffe delivered support and donated items to Team Sloan, a local Cancer charity that carries out great things in the local community.

Medequip Brighouse (Driven by passionate Ops Supervisor Ryan Duxbury) continued their Christmas tradition of donating to charity this year by collecting gifts to donate to the Salvation Army for their annual Christmas Present Appeal.

Brighouse staff braved the elements to raise awareness for people struggling with homelessness. Volunteering for The Giant Howarth Sleep out in the freezing cold, Alex, Ian and Mark supported the cause all night.

Midlands

Stafford Depot's Charlie Nicholls took part in a charity boxing match in Mid-November, to raise money towards Cancer Research UK. He raised £205 via Just Giving!

Leicester depot built a Donation Station, so who you donate to is up to fate, making donating more fun! Charities will change yearly but in 2022 it's Alzheimer's Society, Mind and Rainbows

Leicester Depot hosted Help the Homeless to hand over a few loads of donations in 2022. There were donations of coats, jackets, pillows, blankets and much more.

Gina Pritchett and the Stafford Team collected 30 evacuation chairs no longer required at NHS sites managed by Community Health Partnerships in Stoke-on-Trent. Although it's a non-contract area, they were collected as they were ideal for being donated to Belief In Action.

London and Head Office

Head of Clinical Services, Fiona Wasdell-Bowyer completed a Memory walk for Alzheimer's Society in London in September. She walked with her family and her mum who has Alzheimer's.

Marketing's Tom Rogers raised £400 via Just giving for Alzheimer's Society by holding Medequip's Charity Fantasy Football League and the World Cup Sweepstake

London and South East, like many other regions across the country, have been donating to the Belief In Action Charity with further items which will be greatly appreciated and life-changing. As a Region, this brings their 2022 donation total to 133 pieces of equipment!

Mandela Way depot held its annual Christmas carol service, organised by Blessing Ototahor. 100 free food bags provided to local residents in need, Hot food and drinks provided to over 100 people, Donated clothes distributed to people in need, Essential life-saving equipment provided to local people who find themselves homeless, Free toys given to children and advice given on how to survive through the winter during the current heating crisis. All of this plus wonderful carols were sung with gusto.

Hainault's Susan Parmenter Volunteered as a Cheerer at the London Marathon on behalf of Alzheimer's Society, which is a cause close to her heart due to family reasons.

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The Cost of Living Crisis and Powering Community Equipment

The Cost of Living Crisis and Powering Community Equipment

We are all faced with rising energy bills and inflation hiking up the cost of living. Community equipment specialists Medequip appreciate that people using powered equipment like variable height beds, rise and recline chairs, hoists and respiratory equipment for health and independence reasons will be experiencing concerns about the costs involved.

The media has quite correctly reported on the potential savings achieved by switching off equipment normally left on standby. For many items of community equipment, this is either not possible or may be detrimental to the operation of the equipment.

Working with key manufacturers, Medequip has developed a detailed information leaflet that identifies the potential costs of running individual pieces of equipment. These costs are based on a KWh rate of 34p, in line with the October 2022 energy price cap.

The leaflet also gives advice on how people can make small changes to reduce their energy consumption, based on data published by the Energy Saving Trust. Something as simple as turning lights off when leaving a room could save around £25 from an annual electricity bill, which may then cover the cost of powering a hoist for a whole year.

It’s important that people using community equipment services don’t let the cost of living crisis affect their independence and the use of vital equipment. Recognising the costs involved will provide reassurance. Please take the time to read the information leaflet and access the Frequently Asked Questions section, which also offers further information about how to stay safe and well this winter.

View the Cost of Living and Powering Your Community Equipment Information Leaflet [PDF].

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Ipswich Team Embrace Partnership with Royal British Legion

Poppy Appeal collection stand

Giving something back is part of what we do alongside keeping people independent. We strive to support causes both locally and nationally.

In support of the recent Poppy Appeal and our ongoing partnership with the Royal British Legion in Suffolk, our Ipswich team supported by delivering 23 donation boxes and also volunteered on the collection stand over two weeks at their local Sainsbury’s.

Poppy Suffolk said:

Without the practical support of Medequip, our Poppy Boxes and collection pots, distributed by these 'happy chappies', would not be possible and we appreciate their help to ensure communities can support our Armed Forces Community. Thank you Medequip and thank you guys - much appreciated.

We are proud to have helped with this hugely worthy cause supporting servicemen and women and remembering the fallen.

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Medequip Teams Work Together to Support Trek 26

Medequip Team Support Trek 26

Trek 26 is a fundraising initiative set up by Alzheimer’s Society. It takes place in a number of scenic locations across the UK, with participants walking 13 or 26 miles to raise money to support people devastated by dementia. An epic initiative like Trek 26 requires significant logistical support, from equipment delivery through to managing checkpoints as well as supporting walkers and clearing up in the aftermath!

As a strategic partner for Alzheimer’s Society, community equipment specialists Medequip had helped out with practical support for other runs and walks. Discussions between the teams on the ground carrying out this support work led to discussions around how this help could be expanded to reduce costs for the Society and improve efficiencies.

“Medequip operates a number of depots and hubs in the South West, with easy access to local resources and assets, so we made the decision to run a trial support project for Trek 26 covering the South Devon route, which takes in the English Riviera clifftops and beaches,” explained Justin Page. “It also provided an ideal opportunity for Medequip depots to work together in support of our strategic partner. We intended to investigate the scope of what was required, to see whether we could match these requirements and extend our support in 2023 to other Trek 26 routes through the Medequip network.”

It was a significant undertaking. Medequip vans from the London depots collected equipment from Alzheimer’s Society storage facility in Hertfordshire on the Thursday before the event, ranging from marquees and merchandise through to flags, signs and other checkpoint materials. This was driven to Weston-Super-Mare, where it was all transhipped to Medequip vans from the South Western depots. These vehicles then delivered their loads to the hotel where the Start/Finish line for the trek was situated, in Devon.

On Friday, Medequip volunteers from the Emersons Green and Weston-Super-Mare depots then assisted with setting up this hub, unloading the vehicles, building marquees to welcome the walkers and guiding the placement of toilet facilities. Equipment was reorganised onto different vehicles and delivered to the various checkpoints along the walk. The work didn’t stop there, as the Medequip volunteers had also undertaken to manage a checkpoint for the duration of the walk on Saturday. They were at the checkpoint before 6.00, setting out signage and organising food and hot drinks. The first walkers arrived at around 7.30, and it proved a busy day!

“From a logistics perspective, it was an excellent piece of community engagement,” stated Luke Derrick. “It was also a great experience for our staff to meet different people and find out why they had been inspired to do the walk.”

“Lots of people recognised the Medequip name and were grateful for the support they had received for family members using our services,” added Graham Organ. “Medequip was definitely seen as a safe pair of hands, and the volunteers were able to answer many different questions on topics from aids for daily living through to telecare.”

Once the last walkers had passed through the checkpoints, the entire procedure went into reverse, with all equipment returned to the Start/Finish hub and reloaded onto Medequip vehicles for return to the Weston depot. Here, it was met by the London Medequip vans, who delivered it safety back to Alzheimer’s Society storage facility ready for the next event. “Managing waste materials from events had been an issue for the Society in the past,” explained Aaron McGuinness, who also thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “We were able to assume control of this and manage it through our own recycling points, which made an important contribution for our partners.”

Michaela Harris, General Manager for Medequip in the South West and Suffolk, acknowledged the hard work and commitment of the Medequip team. “Trek 26 provided a great opportunity for Medequip to work closely with Alzheimer’s Society, which is so representative of the demographic we serve,” she stated. “We were able to bring our expertise in logistics to the event, reducing costs for the Society. As a trial, the event went very well, and we are now investigating working with other Medequip regions on Trek 26 events with increased participation for 2023.”

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Medequip encourages walking aid returns during National Recycling Week 2022

We are supporting National Recycle Week 17-23 October 2022

Medequip is ready for National Recycle Week which runs from 17th – 23rd October 2022.

Walking aids, such as walking stick, frames, rollators and crutches can be safely refurbished and reused repeatedly. WRAP’s National Recycle Week (17th-23rd October) is a good opportunity to boost return and reuse which will help improve availability for patients, reduce carbon emissions and save money. Patients can find out where to return their walking aids by visiting their local Trust’s website or by using the WRAP Recycle Now Tool: www.recyclenow.com/recycle-an-item/walking-aids.

All 24 of Medequip’s depots are being utilised as equipment drop off points during Recycle Week. Medequip also have 65 amnesty bin drop off points which can be found across the UK.

Placing equipment in blue Medequip Equipment Amnesty bin

As a national provider of community equipment services, Medequip serves a population of over 20million people, providing 1000’s of pieces of equipment everyday to people who are living with mobility issues and disability. The service includes equipment procurement, maintenance, collection, cleaning, and recycling of equipment so it can be re-issued to another person in the community. Medequip has an impressive equipment recycle rate – which is currently 88% of returned items.

Medequip have also focused on carbon emissions in other areas of the business including vehicle fleet and aim to have 25% of service delivery vehicles fully electric by December 2022.

Crutches, frames and walking sticks provide an excellent opportunity for carbon savings due to the high greenhouse gas intensity of aluminium manufacture.

WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) is a charity working with the government, businesses and citizens to create a world where resources are sourced and used sustainably. NHS England is also supporting National Recycle Week and encouraging trusts to use the week to set up a new scheme or boost return rates for an existing scheme.

Alex Roberts, Engagement Manager at Medequip said:

“Supporting National Recycle Week helps us build on our existing campaigns to encourage people to return unused equipment, in most cases equipment can be cleaned and reused for someone else in the community.”

Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England said:

“Increasing the amount of walking aids, such as crutches, walking sticks and walking frames, that are reused by patients is an important priority for the NHS. As well as helping to reduce the NHS carbon footprint, it can help the NHS to use its resources more effectively and save taxpayers money.”

To find out where you can return walking aids go to: WRAP Recycle Now Tool: www.recyclenow.com/recycle-an-item/walking-aids.

To find out how to return unwanted community equipment please visit www.medequip-uk.com/contact to check if Medequip serves your local authority area.

For more information on the benefits of returning and reusing waking aids, please visit NHS England » Walking aid reuse.

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Working to Be a More Inclusive Employer

Working to Be a More Inclusive Employer

It’s been very busy for everyone at Medequip for quite some time, and if I look forward, I can’t see anything changing soon.

Supporting the health and social care system is an important and demanding task in the best of times, and I wouldn’t say we are in the best of times.

Against this backdrop I find it very challenging, balancing my work life with my personal life. But as someone said, if you enjoy work, finding that balance isn’t quite so hard.

So, I’m always really pleased to hear feedback from people who use the service that shows Medequip staff really care about the service they provide.

Professional, knowledgeable and respectful go without saying. But staff who have been empathetic, patient and kind and put themselves out, can really make a difference to someone’s day. And that feedback helps people find their own balance.

If you have employment that you enjoy, with people you care about and who care about you, then you’ll realise how unfair it is that many disabled people, or those who face barriers into employment don’t have the same opportunity.

That’s one reason Medequip is working hard to be a more inclusive employer. The other is that it makes business sense. Two great reasons to try harder.

Across the country we are Sharing the Journey with Local Authority contract partners, local Supported Employment agencies and Apprenticeship providers. For some people, it’s just some practical adjustments to their workspace that makes all the difference. For others it requires different organisations to work together with the employee, their family or network and their co-workers.

Medequip can’t be experts in everything, but we can proactively reach out and find that expertise to help us be better.

You’ll see more in this newsletter from Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK who is helping us shape our policies and culture. The national work of Laura Davis and the British Association of Supported Employment and the work going on in Birmingham with our own Jo Page, the Local Authority and a number of partners.

Whatever it takes to increase our inclusiveness, we find it makes us a better organisation. More aware of each other and how we all contribute differently. More aware of our purpose and what we need to do to help people stay independent for longer.

More able to find that balance.

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Sharing the Journey with BASE and PURE

Sharing the Journey with BASE and PURE

Achieving a more inclusive recruitment policy is an integral part of Medequip’s HR strategy. The business has been working closely with BASE (British Association for Supported Employment) for some years to develop the policy. This month, Medequip’s Birmingham depot was pleased to welcome their third PURE trainee, with two previous trainees now in permanent employment at the depot.

The PURE project (Placing vulnerable Urban Residents into Employment) is the result of an innovative partnership between Birmingham City Council and a group of eight providers including Midland Mencap, MIND, Birmingham & Solihull Women’s AID, BID Services, Trident Reach, Fry Accord, Rathbone and Swanswell. Part funded by the European Social Fund, PURE brings together a range of coordinated interventions designed to assist the needs of the people with barriers into the employment market.

Depot Manager Jo Page has been a committed supporter of the PURE project for some time now, since her first PURE candidates joined the business prior to the pandemic.

We have been able to welcome a number of PURE candidates, despite a brief hiatus because of the COVID-19 lockdowns, she explained. We were always convinced we had the right environment to support, mentor and guide individuals through to employment, education and training in line with the PURE objectives.

Manjit joined Medequip as a permanent employee in 2021. Adrian became a permanent employee recently, and new candidate David is now completing work experience, supported by the team and his peers from PURE, in particular Manjit who has taken on a significant training role.

We have benefited from great support from local agencies as well as our own Medequip team here in Birmingham, who are completely on board with our objectives, added Jo. Our PURE people are an important and integral part of this team and a joy to work with, as well as exhibiting high levels of commitment and reliability.

As a result of her involvement with PURE and Midland Mencap, Jo was delighted to be invited to present graduation certificates recently at Fircroft College, a specialist adult residential college based in Selly Oak, Birmingham and originally founded by George Cadbury Junior in 1908. The college offers short courses aimed at helping adults improve their skills and confidence and work towards reaching their own personal or work goals.

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Partnering with Disability Rights UK for a More Inclusive Employment Strategy

Partnering with Disability Rights UK for a More Inclusive Employment Strategy

Disability Rights UK is a leading organisation run by and working for Disabled people across the UK, operating with a broad spectrum of organisations and governmental bodies to influence change in terms of better rights, benefits, quality of life and economic opportunities for Disabled people. Disability Rights UK celebrates a decade of action this year; the organisation was established in 2012, and continues to work to enable diverse Disabled people to have a voice and influence and to connect with each other.

Medequip and Disability Rights UK have been working together for some time on the Disability Confident programme, with Disability Rights UK supporting Medequip on the journey to become a Disability Confident employer, thinking differently about disability and making the workplace more accessible. Here, CEO Kamran Mallick talks about the organisation’s involvement with Medequip and his own expectations for how cooperation between Disability Rights UK and Medequip is expected to deliver into the future.

Now that Disability Rights UK and Medequip have been working together for some time, what impression has this insight given you into the Medequip ethos?

It’s been good to put a face to a company I’ve known for many years in terms of equipment supply. Talking to colleagues at Medequip, it’s absolutely clear that the team has a real desire and commitment to do things differently. This is not just a business to the people I’ve met; they’re dedicated to playing a developing role in helping to support people to live independently and well, alongside striving to be inclusive in everything they do.

Has Medequip been an easy organisation to work with?

This is a great people business. The team has been very open to constructive dialogue in terms of working practices, and is genuinely seeking our input to help them improve. I’m looking forward to meeting the wider management team when we deliver Disability Confident training later this year.

Do you believe Medequip is open to both listening and learning?

On the evidence I’ve seen so far, definitely. We’re helping them to examine just who they are, what they are and why as an organisation, defining their drive to be a better, more inclusive employer. We have actively challenged and questioned them around Disability Confident issues, and the responses have been positive and encouraging.

Are there mutual benefits to the partnership?

Definitely. At Disability Rights UK, we’re all about working towards creating an inclusive society where Disabled people can live independent and fulfilling lives, and we provide training and consultancy to businesses seeking to benefit from being a truly inclusive employer. Medequip is one of the many components involved in achieving that goal. Coming together to share knowledge and experience is integral to bringing about change and improvements. We’re all driven by trying to shift society so it’s better for the next generation, and it’s clear that changes made benefitting disabled people benefit everyone in society.

How do you see the partnership with Medequip evolving into the future?

We’re hoping our partnership will develop beyond the framework of the Disability Confident programme at Level 3 Leader status. There are clear opportunities to expand the sphere of influence developed by Medequip in this arena, going over and above the concepts of inclusive recruitment and other programme components. We would like to see this commitment extend to the wider supply chain, with Medequip demonstrating the benefits of inclusive employment to their suppliers and supporting other associated companies operating in this field to begin their own journeys towards disability equality and improved employment opportunities.

Kamran Mallick, CEO for Disability Rights UK, has been a wheelchair user since the age of three. He has been involved in the field of disability equality and rights all his working life, mainly in the not-for-profit sector, and has also served as CEO for Action on Disability.

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BASE – The Leading Voice for Supported Employment Across the UK

BASE

BASE is a members’ charity bringing together a collective voice for the Supported Employment community. We work across government to champion the Supported Employment model, raising standards and quality within the sector and addressing the ongoing inequalities that exist for people with a disability who are trying to access employment. Our objective is to create an environment where everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so.

Supported Employment is an evidence-based model helping people who want to work, yet are largely excluded by the mainstream routes into employment. The greatest barrier to inclusion in the workforce is the recruitment process itself. Our model supports employers to explore ways to reduce these barriers and access an untapped workforce with so much to give.

BASE – The Leading Voice for Supported Employment

It’s not just about recruitment but about retention too. Supported Employment agencies work to build employers’ understanding and awareness of how the supported employment model can build the confidence within the workforce to retain talented people with a disability. If you can get it right for people with a learning disability, you’ll also open up the doors to other excluded groups who will bring diversity and talent to your working environment.

It’s not a unicorn – it’s a model that works. Some employers really engage – they get that it’s good for the business, meeting core business needs and not just a CSR exercise. The employers who get it right and recruit to the future potential of candidates have a real opportunity to access a rich and diverse workforce.

There’s a wealth of support out there, with agencies up and down the country who will partner with you and help you to become a more inclusive employer. There’s a misconception around the costs involved, too. Whilst there may be some additional time investment initially, the rewards are significant, and the average cost of a reasonable adjustment is between £30-£180 per individual.

At BASE, we enjoy an excellent working relationship with Medequip. The Medequip team first came to BASE to seek guidance and advice on making recruitment and employment more inclusive. We’ve helped Medequip to connect out to local organisations in areas where they have depots, making introductions and opening up new opportunities. It’s a great partnership where we’re learning together to develop best practice.

Laura Davis
CEO, BASE (British Association for Supported Employment)

BASE also offers training for employers around Supported Employment and is instrumental in developing organisational standards in this field.

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Share the Journey - An Introduction

Share the Journey

It's about the people you meet along the way

Any long project, is like any long journey. However fabulous the destination is going to be, it’s important to be happy along the way.

Medequip have been on a journey of improvement, and truth be told, working in the Health and Social Care system, the destination, whilst always in sight, is always some way off.

That is why we want to do our best today, and tomorrow, for our contract authorities, suppliers, community partners and the people we support.

So, when someone asked me if we ever partnered with or helped in-house Community Equipment Services, I couldn’t think of good reasons why we weren’t and I was curious about the people we would meet. We got our thinking hats on, thought about what we could offer and so the idea of “share the journey” was born.

Share the journey is a three month, fully-funded project team, offered to three Local Authorities or NHS organisations that provide their own, in-house Community Equipment Service in England, Scotland or Wales. We have partnered with the innovative social enterprise Community Catalysts to help us deliver something different.

Whether you want to benchmark your service against best practice standards, reimagine how the service could develop, or simply take stock of where you are, a Share the Journey Project Team could be the answer.

Medequip and Community Catalysts will offer your organisation support, bringing in dedicated people with specialist skills once you agree. You would also be expected to enable key staff to participate. People using the service and local community groups should be included too.

What’s the catch I hear you say. What’s in it for Medequip?

No catch. We just all learn a bit from each other and improve things for people who use our services. I have committed Medequip to its own journey of improvement and I think there is a lot of learning out there and a lot of good stuff Medequip and Community Catalysts can contribute.

The simple application process is explained in more detail in the newsletter, along with stories from people who work for Medequip, suppliers, partners and people who are helping us improve.

I hope you will consider this offer and if you want an informal chat about how this might work for you, please drop me a line.

David Griffiths, Managing Director, Medequip
d.griffiths@medequip-uk.com

Share the Journey - get involved
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Medequip and Community Catalysts - Already Sharing the Journey

Medequip and Community Catalysts

"We were first approached by Medequip just over a year ago with a view to sharing expertise on community, personalisation and coproduction. I must admit that initially, we approached the concept with some level of healthy scepticism. We were wary of how our ethos and values could integrate with a large corporate, how we could maintain the focus on people and communities and make them central to the partnership."

"Our scepticism was short-lived. It quickly became obvious that the Medequip team was working hard to develop itself and its approach, driven by strong values and a commitment to customer service.

A year on and we have just completed a key piece of work, helping Medequip to consider and develop their feedback process, using a coproduction approach. This involved creating a group bringing together users of equipment, their families and equipment prescribers, building opportunities for Medequip to hear the real voices of people using the equipment on a day to day basis. The new feedback system that has emerged from this process is now being tested and in the future will hopefully play an important role in helping Medequip and their commissioners to listen to these voices when they consider the services they provide.

The importance of this work is effectively illustrated by Isaac Samuels, a member of this group and a freelance coproduction adviser, who writes about his experiences here.

We are confident that the Medequip team is genuine in their desire to coproduce and hear people’s voices. As a partner in the Share the Journey project, we at Community Catalysts look forward to working closely with the project team to identify the chosen initiatives and to provide input and mentoring support over the course of the project.”

Angela Catley, Director of Development for Community Catalysts

Other work has included helping Medequip to identify and connect with disabled people, organisations and community groups in areas where they are tendering for contracts, to help them to fully understand individual and local requirements and issues. Our work with Community Catalysts is proving invaluable, stated David Griffths, Managing Director for Medequip. Their experience and credibility creates an important bridge between the people, communities and the voluntary and statutory sectors, and we are constantly learning from their connections with people with lived experience.

Share the Journey - get involved
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Share the Journey - Accora and Age UK

Share the Journey - Accora and Age UK

Richard Smith, Sales Director for medical equipment manufacturers Accora, talks about the company’s link-up with Age UK in Cambridge in the shape of a ‘Listeners’ initiative to befriend and communicate with older people.

"There were a number of contributing factors behind our decision to move forward with a planned CSR programme. Alongside our own desire to add social value and the need to demonstrate our commitment in tenders and other documents, we were encouraged and supported by Medequip, a key customer for Accora, who shared expertise and knowledge with us to help get our initiative under way.

With a network of technicians and representatives across the country, we looked initially at a national initiative, but made the decision to partner with our local Age UK to ensure we could begin by delivering and monitoring something meaningful and commercially viable.

Our ‘Listeners’ befriending programme makes best use of our Support Centre staff, who have specialist skills in telephone techniques and proven abilities to communicate well. In addition, it effectively cuts the shackles of geography and provides us with a foundation which we can extend into other operational areas in the future.

We began the programme with our local Cambridge team, using an allocated percentage of their time to conduct outbound telephone calls to elderly people in the area identified by Age UK. This initiative is working well and proving rewarding, both for our staff and for the local residents they are now chatting with on a regular basis.

One of the great advantages for Accora has been how much the team is enjoying this part of their work, and how well received it has been. Recent feedback has been encouraging, with our staff reporting as follows.

Calls are usually around 30 minutes every Wednesday at 10am which I find easy to fit in with my day job. My service user match looks forward to the calls and has fed back to Age UK that she is happy to continue as am I. It’s a very rewarding call to make!"

Jo, Accora

"I called Allen at 11am this morning – we had a really lovely chat for 30mins and covered quite a lot! I really enjoyed the call and look forward to speaking to him again."

Tanya, Accora

"Once our befriending ‘Listeners’ programme has had a little more time and gained more experience, we plan to look at how we extend this across a wider geographical area, hopefully again in partnership with Age UK in different parts of the country."

Richard Smith, Accora Ltd
Share the Journey - get involved
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Share the Journey - Jade's Story

Share the Journey - Jades Story

From being a person with lived experience, to becoming a member of the Medequip team

Growing up

When I was just 15 years old, I had to have a massive operation on my legs where I needed a Medequip hospital bed, commode and a few other items.

Medequip was super! They delivered all the equipment that was needed for me after my operation. They delivered it on the day of my surgery to make sure it was all in and ready for my hospital discharge.

Once I got home from the hospital, I was thankful for having the bed. As I couldn’t lay down flat, I was happy to have the bed so I could go to sleep comfortably sat up.

Once 6 weeks had passed and I was able to weight bare again, we sent some of the equipment back to Medequip and it was perfect. It was all collected on the date they had given.

Once I was able to weight bare, I then had a different delivery of grab rails and shower stool.

I kept the bed for a few years, just so that I could use the ‘sit up’ function. With every year that passed, they booked it in for a service, to make sure everything was perfect with the bed, which it was!

Once I was ready to get rid of the bed, we simply phoned up our local depot and booked the bed in for collection. It was so easy to do!

A few years later

I managed to get an interview at my local Medequip. I was nervous to start with, but once I was there, I felt comfortable.

After the interview had ended, I was asked when I could start - I was so pleased with myself getting a job as I was finding it hard whilst being in a wheelchair.

I was given 2 weeks training for the job, which made me feel very welcome and got me used to doing everything we need to do on the computers.

Since the training, I noticed that you still learn something new every day, and if you get stuck there is always someone to ask!

It is a great pleasure to be working with an amazing team that all work together to help each other.

I can’t thank Medequip and the people that I work with enough for taking me on for who I am.

Share the Journey - get involved
Date:

Medequip's Community Engagement in Suffolk – a Year in Pictures

Medequip's Community Engagement in Suffolk – a Year in Pictures

As part of Medequip's national commitment to community engagement, aiming to give something back to the communities we serve, each depot has a focused plan to best serve its surrounding area and give back all year round. Medequip's Ipswich depot in Suffolk is a leading example of the work going on nationally throughout the company today.

We refurbished an old bench for the paediatric ward at Ipswich hospital. The aim was so that families had somewhere to sit outside when visiting patients.

ipswich-hospital-bench-referbishment

In January, we took part in a Tree-cycling event for St. Elizabeth Hospice, where staff members collected Christmas trees from Suffolk residents. The trees were then chipped. We have already committed to double our team for next year.

treecycling-volunteering

Three Staff members volunteered as Trail Makers for The Big Hoot 2022. The Big Hoot is a Wild Art trail for St Elizabeth Hospice, where Trail makers check and clean 'Hoot Owls' along the trail. They also give out information and stickers to the public. Currently ongoing and finishing in September 2022, depot staff are volunteering over the next month.

the-big-hoot

Our Ipswich depot has donated a van load of equipment that would otherwise be scrapped to charity, monthly or bi-monthly for several years. We have been supporting Belief In Action, a charity helping to alleviate the suffering of disadvantaged children and adults in Romania. We also donate to Physionet, a charity helping people with disabilities overseas by providing donated specialist equipment.

belief-in-action-equipment-donation

Every Tuesday, we've delivered food parcels locally on behalf of Families in Need. Families in Need or FIND is a local food bank that provides free food parcels and personal care items to help people get through a crisis. We have been doing this since November 2021 and are committed to the cause for the foreseeable future.

food-bank-volunteering

We have donated equipment to our NHS Trust for their Education Team to use with the Community Health teams in Suffolk.

We have produced, printed and distributed leaflets to signpost local services for the Suffolk Disability Forum, Lighthouse Women’s Aid and Headway Suffolk. The Lighthouse Women’s Aid is a charity that provides emotional support to women, young people and children experiencing domestic abuse. Headway Suffolk is a charity that supports local adults with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions through rehabilitation and therapy services.

We supported the Headway Suffolk Conference 2022, where we stood offering information and advice to those who attended. This is where we were visited by a friendly medical response dog, Bea. Bea is currently in training to one day help someone with a neurological condition.

headway-conference

Our Suffolk team will continue to support local people as part of our long term commitment to Co-production and Community Engagement.

#CommitToCopro

Date:

Medequip Awarded the Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Community Equipment Service Contract

A view along the River Glaven in Cley, Norfolk, UK

Medequip has been commissioned by Norfolk County Council (NCC), lead for the Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) for Norfolk & Waveney, to provide the Community Equipment Service with effect from 1st April 2023.

From this date Medequip will be responsible for procuring, storing, delivering, installing, maintaining, collecting, and reusing a range of health and daily living equipment and undertaking minor housing adaptations. Work is already underway to mobilise the new arrangements to ensure a smooth transition. The process for those who use the service is unchanged at the current time.

Medequip are delighted to have been selected and look forward to working within Norfolk & Waveney, supporting people through the application of their vision and values to regain skills, maximise their independence and help the people of Norfolk and Waveney to live longer, healthier, and happier lives, delivering services with empathy, courtesy, dignity, and kindness and undertaking regular user engagement to develop and innovate services.

Commenting on the contract award, Gary Heathcote, Director of Commissioning for Adult Social Care within Norfolk County Council:

“I am confident that in the award of the contract to Medequip, that the service from Medequip will deliver quality in service delivery, value for money, innovation and fully support the strategic intent of Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Care System (ICS), to help the people of Norfolk and Waveney to live longer, healthier and happier lives.”

David Griffiths, Medequip’s Managing Director added:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver the Integrated Community Equipment Service for Norfolk and Waveney and look forward to working with the commissioning team to deliver efficient, innovative and engaging services for the people of Norfolk and Waveney.”

Date:

Medequip Awarded the Somerset Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service Contract

Somerset Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service

Medequip has been commissioned by Somerset County Council and NHS Somerset to provide the newly integrated Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service from 1 August 2022. This will be supported by AJM Healthcare who are a leading provider of NHS wheelchair services throughout the UK and compliment the expertise Medequip bring in the Community Equipment provision.

Our vision is that people should feel safe in their own homes and local communities, so they can live independent lives, reducing the need for health and social care support. To facilitate this the Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service will provide a range of equipment, from simple to complex items on loan for as long as is required by the person using the service. The service includes the delivery and fitting of equipment, wheelchairs and ceiling track hoists, servicing, collection and recycling. We will have a personalised focus by actively engaging with people and listening to their views to shape and enhance their provision to maximise choice and control wherever possible.

Medequip and AJM Healthcare will work closely to ensure they are providing the best service and best value for Somerset’s residents; working together with the council and NHS to improve service delivery and address problems if they occur.

Over the period of the 5 year contract, that will run from August 2022 to July 2027, Medequip expect to introduce new initiatives to evolve the service provision as demands on the service change and emerge across the Health and Social Care sector, particularly in developing technological solutions to mitigate that challenges of service delivery in the rural locations of West Somerset.

Commenting on the contract award, Cllr Heather Shearer, Somerset County Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care said:

“We’re really thrilled to announce the launch of this new service, which combines two services which previously people had to access separately. The new system will allow people to use one portal to access wheelchairs and also a range of community equipment, saving time, and making it easier for people to access the equipment they need. It will also make it easier for professionals to make referrals.”

Michaela Harris, Medequip’s Regional General Manager for the South West said:

“Medequip is proud to have partnered with AJM Healthcare to provide the new Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service contract in conjunction with Somerset County Council and NHS Somerset.

The service includes the delivery and fitting of equipment, wheelchairs and ceiling track hoists, servicing, collection and recycling. The service will have a personalised focus, actively engaging with people who use the service, listening to their views in order to shape and enhance the service provision.

Medequip and AJM Healthcare bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Somerset region and are pleased to be able to provide a new and improved service to this area. We are excited to welcome all the staff that will continue to support the service on the 1st August as well as some newcomers, and we look forward to making a real difference in how the service operates to really help the people of Somerset.”

Medequip will also support Somerset’s aim to be a carbon neutral county by 2030, as Medequip is committed to using power from sustainable sources across its operations and will procure additional fully electric vehicles to service this contract as part of the company’s commitment to clean air initiatives. Medequip has been adopting new technologies to reduce CO2 and NOx emissions since Autumn of last year, and more than 10% of the national fleet is now 100% electric powered.

For further information, please visit somerset-cews.co.uk

Date:

Medequip Achieves The Very First CECOPS Gold Grade at Brighouse Depot

Medequip staff member loading a folded bed frame onto a Medequip van

Medequip is delighted to announce that the company’s Brighouse depot, which provides community equipment services for Kirklees Council, is the first in the country to achieve the coveted ‘Gold’ grade from CECOPS (the Community Equipment Code of Practice Scheme) in a comprehensive assessment covering all aspects of service delivery.

Accreditation to the ‘Gold’ grade confirms that Medequip Brighouse has met and, in some cases, excelled against the requirements of the Code of Practice. It underlines the organisation’s commitment at all levels to proactive monitoring and compliance, as well as continuous improvement and implementation of new ways of working.

Medequip provides community equipment services (CES) for more than 40 local authority contracts across the UK and holds corporate CECOPS certification for each and every one. Achieving a first CECOPS ‘Gold’ in Brighouse is particularly appropriate as this was the first location to achieve CECOPS accredited status back in 2014.

At the time, it was a contractual target for Medequip to achieve accreditation within the first year of the Kirklees CES contact and a visionary specification for Kirklees, making them the first local authority in the UK to be assessed to what was then a new standard focused entirely on CES.

CECOPS CIC is the only independent standards body in the UK assessing the commissioning and provision of all assistive technology services, including clinical and technical aspects. The new CECOPS graded approach has a continuous improvement focus alongside themes including customer experience, quality, safety and performance, governance and risk management, leadership, efficiency and effectiveness and innovation.

Assessments are carried out by independent assessors against the established CECOPS Code of Practice. The objective is to provide a template for commissioning and providing community equipment services, setting out clearly defined and specific standards and measurable outcomes. The results are helpful for commissioning teams when evaluating and awarding contracts, and also help the public to judge how their own providers are performing.

The CECOPS grading system was introduced to help improve services and outcomes, and to recognise those organisations who go the extra mile in terms of quality, safety and performance, confirmed Brian Donnelly, Chief Executive for CECOPS CIC. It is very encouraging therefore that the Medequip Brighouse service has achieved a ‘Gold’ grade, which indicates a very good level of service. Congratulations on this achievement!

David Griffiths, Managing Director at Medequip, stressed the importance of the ‘Gold’ award. Accreditation at this level for Brighouse and Kirklees Council demonstrates clearly that we are leading the field in supplying safe and efficient services, and external validation that our governance structure and processes meet and, in some cases, exceed the CECOPS requirements.

Date:

People of Durham and Darlington Support Local Returns Campaign

People of Durham and Darlington Support Local Returns Campaign

Thousands of pounds worth of forgotten equipment is to be brought back into circulation after a successful 'returns roadshow' in Durham & Darlington that saw hundreds of items returned. Equipment was brought to drop-off points at the Arnison Centre, Durham and Morrisons Morton Park, Darlington, including walking frames, commodes and perching stools.

Earlier this year, Medequip joined a co-production group in partnership with Durham CCG, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Darlington Borough Council & Tees Valley CCG. Recruitment of the Co-production group started in November 2021 to gather thoughts from local people on how we could improve elements of the service offered in Durham & Darlington.

This Co-production group homed in on recycling equipment and the difficulties of returning equipment. The key figures soon got to work on reviewing notes from public meetings and putting plans and measures in place to arrange what was referred to as an equipment returns roadshow. Rather than an ’amnesty’ which sounded more like we were holding people accountable for ‘hoarding equipment’ or holding them at fault for not returning the equipment previously when no longer required.

Equipment collected at the returns roadshow

Through advertising of the roadshow via press and social media, the week building up to the event and the week of saw returns to the local Medequip depot skyrocket. From a healthy hoard of around one thousand per week, returns ended up more than doubling, peaking at nearly three thousand during the week of the roadshow.

Medequip helps the NHS by supplying equipment for patient discharge to home. This is why it is vital for equipment on loan from Medequip to be returned when it's no longer needed. No matter what condition the equipment is in, the depot will accept it, as all that's returned gets recycled in line with the NHS's commitment to sustainability.

Equipment drop off:

Time: Monday – Friday, 8.45am - 5pm

Location: Medequip, Unit 3, Beaumont Square, Aycliffe Industrial Park, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham DL5 6XN

Date:

Medequip's Role in Making Employment More Inclusive as a Disability Confident Employer

Aditi Dave taking part in webinar

Medequip Rochester Depot's Operations Manager, Justin Page and Human Resources Business Partner, Aditi Dave were recently invited to take part in a webinar held by the Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP) regarding employers who adopt an inclusive approach to apprenticeships. Medequip were one of 4 companies from the area invited to speak, with all three other speakers from different job sectors.

Each company were given 2 sets of questions relevant to their sectors and only six minutes in which to tell their part. written and presented by the pair, the presentation covered questions surrounding how Medequip have made workplace practices more inclusive and why Medequip has invested in inclusive apprenticeships.

During the presentation, Aditi spoke about and explained Medequip’s journey and approach concerning supported employment, Disability confidence levels, the introduction of processes such as working interviews and examples of feedback from our employees. It was received well, and in an email from SCTP Executive Director, Vanessa Potter feedback was provided on the success of the presentation:

"(The) presentation was just amazing, and your enthusiasm, passion, and subject knowledge shone through. You offered a really good overview of your approaches at Medequip and we’ve already received lots of positive feedback about the event. Thanks so much!"
Date:

Medequip Awarded Major Integrated CES Contract in the South West

Is Change the Answer?

Medequip has been commissioned by BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council to manage the Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) across the region for a period of five years to September 2027.

Medequip has worked closely with all three authorities and the CCG for a number of years. The latest contract has been collaboratively commissioned by the BNSSG ICES Project Group, bringing together representatives from local authorities, NHS Trusts and Community Health providers to manage ICES under a single contract.

This new approach brings significant benefits for NHS and health service staff working both in the community and in hospitals across the BNSSG area. Local Authority and health staff will share one system, with shared service user equipment records, using a new, improved ordering system and creating a single equipment catalogue.

In addition, Medequip will retain and enhance the teams and premises servicing the contract in Weston-Super-Mare and Emersons Green, building on local expertise and knowledge. The company will also incorporate a number of service improvements, employing a full time Occupational Therapist and an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

These Medequip clinicians will provide advice and support to all BNSSG prescribers, and supplement Medequip’s existing equipment technical specialists. The operational side of the contract will also benefit from a new, improved ordering system and the cohesion of a single equipment catalogue across the BNSSG area.

Commenting on the contract award, Tom Lander, Contracts & Quality Officer for Bristol Community Equipment Service stated: “BNSSG ICES commissioners look forward to continuing our work with Medequip in the coming years, building on our current contractual relationships to provide a valuable equipment loan service for the people of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. The equipment loan service is crucial in underpinning the health and social care systems across the region, benefiting many thousands of adults and children.”

Alongside practical service enhancements, Medequip is committed to using power from sustainable sources across its operations and will procure additional fully electric vehicles to service this contract as part of the company’s commitment to clean air initiatives. Medequip has been adopting new technologies to reduce CO2 and NOx emissions since Autumn of last year, and more than 10% of the national fleet is now 100% electric powered.

Michaela Harris, General Manager for Medequip in the South West & Suffolk, stated: “On behalf of myself and the teams at Weston Super-Mare and Emersons Green, we are all extremely proud to be able to continue working with the BNSSG Commissioning teams and most importantly continuing to provide a high quality service across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire regions. We look forward to building on our existing relationship and enhancing the service over the coming years.”

The new single contract will commence on 1st October 2022, running for 5 years to 30th September 2027, with an option for commissioners to extend for up to two years after this date. The contract will be held and managed by Bristol City Council on behalf of and reporting to the joint local commissioners.

Date:

Change. Always the Answer?

Is Change the Answer?

My mother-in-law Mary has recently moved into a residential care home. Despite our best intentions, it all happened quite quickly and it was a big change for everyone in the family, especially Mary.

I noticed how we all acted differently, and at different times, to the challenge of the change. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, the classic grief stages.

If life was a bit neater, we would have all experienced the stages in the same order and moved on at the same time. But as life's small print says "no guarantee of neatness can be made".

I've seen the full range in the Griffiths family, so you can imagine the variation in Medequip, with over 1000 people.

As an organisation, and as a group of people, we are ambitious to get better, on a large scale and in small details. This has meant constant change is the new normal and we have had to make sure we understand that change affects everyone differently.

Change is a bit like consistency, sometimes we resist it, sometimes we embrace it so enthusiastically we get a bit carried away. It is quite nice to focus on something new rather than finding renewed focus to improve something that is not working the way it should.

But, when change is required, I've learned that some of us need encouragement, some of us need support, and some of us, well we just need a bit of time and space to process stuff in our own way.

And it's the same with the people we serve, the communities that support them and our statutory and voluntary sector partners. They are all affected by layers and layers of change, experienced by many different people, in many different ways, at the same time as everything around us is changing.

There are things we are learning that help.

Involving people who use services keeps the focus on what's important and can unite different perspectives.

It's not just the big stuff that matters. Keeping an eye on the little decisions that get made every day helps make sure they are moving us in the right direction.

Of course, a good level of communication with people helps, especially if that involves checking in regularly, making sure people understand why the change is necessary.......and my personal recommendation, recognising their efforts and thanking them.

So, I'll wrap this up by saying thank you to all the people that love Mary. Like a lot of change, it wasn't really wanted and the process hasn't been easy, but by going through it together, in all our different ways, we've managed.

Date:

Open Day Demonstrates Medequip’s Medway Integrated Community Equipment Service

Rochester Retail Shop

Medequip, providers of The Medway Integrated Community Equipment Service (MICES), were delighted to welcome guests to the first ever official Open Day at their Rochester Depot on Friday 22 April.

Medequip’s MICES provision commenced in September 2020 in the midst of the pandemic and to date, the company has supported in excess of 7,000 residents to help keep them independent for longer. The contract covers the supply, installation, repair, maintenance, collection and recycling of community equipment prescribed by Health or Social Care professionals.

Repair and Testing

The open day included a full site tour and an insight into how the day to day running of the service takes place - from procurement and storage through to how equipment is cleaned, repaired and safety checked, as well as how equipment is processed once ordered by a Health or Social Care Professional on behalf of Medway residents.

Warehouse

Guests were also able to learn more about Medequip’s environmental aims, such as the Returning Equipment Campaign and continued investment in the electrification of the delivery fleet to meet clean air objectives.

Electric Van

The official opening of the on-site retail shop took place with Councillor David Brake, Portfolio Leader for Adult Services, cutting the ribbon. The retail shop gives people the opportunity to purchase smaller daily living aids to empower independent living and to complete tasks they may be struggling with.

Rochester Retail Shop

MICES is focused on recycling to reduce costs and environmental impact and offers a free and safe collection service for unwanted equipment upon request from the company’s Customer Service Team. To date, the sum total of equipment returned and made available again for the community stands at 86%, with all items unsuitable for re-issue stripped down and recycled. This saves on Medway Council’s Social Care and NHS funding, as equipment can be reissued instead of buying new.

To support this commitment and encourage residents to return community equipment that is no longer needed, Medequip and Medway Council have also set up amnesty bins located at Medway Hospital and Rochester Healthy Living Centre, making it more convenient to return more portable equipment at these designated drop-off points.

Councillor David Brake - Portfolio Leader for Adult Services at Medway Council praised Medequip and the Rochester Team and said:

“You have done a wonderful job. You know your business, so you know what we as customers want. Despite challenges like the pandemic you have served the Medway Community and on behalf of Medway Council and what I represent, I would like to say thank you for what you are doing.”
Date:

Medequip Invests in Clean Air Technology for Delivery Vehicles

Medequip Electric Vehicles

Taking a major step forward in the electrification of its fleet delivering community equipment services around the country, Medequip has acquired a further 25 Mercedes all-electric eSprinter vans. The move makes a major contribution to the company's clean air initiatives; Medequip has committed to ensuring that 10% of the fleet will be 100% electric powered by late Spring 2022.

Medequip has been adopting new technologies to reduce CO₂ and NOx emissions since Autumn of last year when the first electric powered vans were trialled in London, where road vehicles have been identified as the leading cause of air pollution. Medequip is committed to using power from sustainable sources across its operations, so this is a significant step in moving the fleet away from fossil fuels.

Alongside our stated commitment to adopting greener technologies wherever possible across our operations, the introduction of Ultra-Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) in various cities across the UK has further accelerated our plans to move to all-electric operations, stated Peter Gaunt, Fleet Manager for Medequip. With many depots located in city centres and covering urban routes, we have been monitoring the development of battery technology and are now confident that our electric fleet can perform its duties and help us to improve air quality in urban areas.

Operational capabilities were a key issue in Medequip's decision to replace petrol and diesel powered vehicles with electric alternatives. These vehicles are capable of recharging within 60 minutes; when coupled with efficient scheduling across their delivery areas, they can complete an entire day of deliveries direct to homes on a single charge.

The latest additions to the fleet have been supplied by Mercedes Benz dealer Intercounty Truck and Van Ltd, fitted out by van racking specialists Gentili, liveried by Mediafleet and financed by Lex Autolease.

Date:

Aid for Ukraine - Cefndy-Medequip Team Helps to Make It Happen

Sorting and packing boxes of aid for Ukraine

Often the greatest challenge in getting donations to areas of need is the logistics element of the solution. This was certainly the case in Newport, where a massive effort by community group The Women of Newport had resulted in the collection of everything from food, clothes and nappies through to medicines and medical equipment donated by the local NHS Trust for Ukrainian refugees.

The drive had been so successful that the group had been forced to put a temporary stop on new items. The existing donations filled an entire three floor hotel building, as well as retail units at Newport's Friars Walk shopping centre. The Women of Newport had successfully sourced an HGV to take the donations to a refugee centre in Poland, but they needed to be sorted and moved from the existing locations to a storage facility accessible to the large vehicle.

Step in Cefndy-Medequip, the community equipment service provider for Gwent. Cefndy-Medequip is a sheltered workshop in partnership between Medequip and Cefndy Healthcare, an arm of Denbighshire County Council, who together offer meaningful employment for disabled people.

Manager Ben Giddings made contact with the group to offer practical assistance. Our role is to provide equipment on loan to the people of Gwent to help them stay independent in their own homes for longer, stated Ben. Community engagement and co-production are vital aspects of the work we do. Our people wanted to make a real contribution to the great work being done by The Women of Newport, and we could do this by offering our people and our fleet of vehicles.

Vans from Cefndy-Medequip staffed by volunteers began by removing the stock from the shopping centre, ferrying both palletised goods and loose items to the company's depot on the Felnex Industrial Estate. Here, the team was able to unload goods in a canopied area which could easily be accessed by the HGV.

Volunteers from Cefndy-Medequip then worked to palletise the loose items ready for transportation to Poland, loading the finished pallets onto the vehicle in preparation for the journey. The vans, drivers and volunteers also worked to move more goods from the Westgate Hotel to a more appropriate location for sorting and shipping.

It was a massive team effort, with Cefndy-Medequip staff pitching in all weekend and evenings as well as during working hours to help clear the backlog, explained Ben. The shipment is now on its way to Poland, and we're very proud to have been able to play a part in the project. We're looking forward to continuing our involvement in the near future!

We were humbled and emotional to see the dedication of Natalia from The Women of Newport and her efforts in getting much needed supplies to Poland for the Ukrainian refugees. We are proud of our staff for volunteering to help make this happen - this is a team of fantastic people doing a fantastic job.
Judith Addis, Operations Manager, Denbighshire County Council (Cefndy Healthcare).
The Gwent Wide Integrated Equipment Service who commission Cefndy-Medequip were impressed by the efforts made by the organisation in response to the need for logistics support for the Women of Newport group. It was great to see such a big effort made by the staff at the depot towards such an urgent need.  We hope that this will continue to be supported for much needed supplies to reach Ukrainian refugees.
Louise Ferris, GWICES Advanced Occupational Therapy Practitioner and Andrea Holcombe, GWICES Accountant & Performance Lead.
It was a huge achievement for the team in Newport to be able to support this initiative. They were all energised at the opportunity to assist The Women of Newport and even came in on the Saturday to support the logistics operation needed. I am immensely proud of the team in Newport for the work that they have done and our contribution to the efforts to help the people of the Ukraine who are so desperately in need of these supplies. Well done to everyone at Newport!
Michaela Harris - General Manager South West.
Date:

New Medequip Partnership with Age UK Wirral to Encourage the Return of Community Equipment

Medequip Partnership with Age UK Wirral

Medequip is pleased to announce they have formed a new partnership with Age UK Wirral, the local independent charity that offers a wide variety of services to support older people, their families and carers in the Wirral.

Medequip has supported Wirral residents since July 2015 as providers of the Wirral Independence Service, which includes the supply, installation, repair, maintenance, collection and recycling of community equipment, once prescribed by a Health and Social Care professional.

The Wirral Independence Service also includes telecare monitoring and response, such as falls pick up, along with a dedicated Falls Prevention Service.

The partnership will see Medequip and Age UK Wirral working together to support each other’s aims and ongoing commitments in supporting Wirral residents.

Community equipment drop-off locations

Age UK Wirral charity shops will accept Medequip labelled community equipment that was prescribed to a Service User, but no longer needed. Drop-off locations also include the Devonshire Resource Centre in Birkenhead and the Meadowcroft Community Wellbeing Hub in Bromborough.

Age UK return locations Wirral

Why return equipment that is no longer required?

Local NHS and Social Care Services lose thousands of pounds each year due to missing equipment. All items returned will be assessed, safety tested and either repaired and reused or stripped down for recycling.

Jamie Anderson, Chief Executive of Age UK Wirral said:

"We are delighted to be working with the Council and Medequip to make it easier for people to return and recycle equipment that is no longer needed. More than ever before working together in partnership is essential to make sure that everyone can access the right help and support when they need it."

Roger Chester, Market Transformation & Contracts Lead for Wirral Health & Care Commissioning at Wirral Council said:

"The work Wirral Health and Care Commissioning along with Medequip does to ensure Wirral residents can live independently is extremely important. Supplying community equipment also supports our NHS with hospital discharges, so people can return to their home environment with equipment in place to help with daily living. Working in partnership with Age UK Wirral allows residents to have the option to return equipment that is no longer needed at their convenience. We thank Age UK Wirral for agreeing to have drop-off points within their shops and community centres. This enables us to support others who require that equipment and support the council’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon by 2041."

Alternatively, you can drop-off equipment directly to Medequip’s Bromborough depot or contact Medequip for a free and safe collection. Please call 0151 203 0404 or email wirral@medequip-uk.com.

For more information, please visit the Bromborough service centre page.

Date:

Medequip London Donates Equipment to International Charity

Medequip donates to Belief In Action

Medequip in London & Medway have continued to donate equipment to Belief In Action, a charity that's vital efforts aid vulnerable people in one of Europe's poorest countries.

Belief In Action is a Christian charity helping alleviate the suffering of disadvantaged children and adults in Romania.

They help by providing facilities and resources for people working with support groups, to help and care for both children and adults who have disabilities.

As a part of our current social values initiative, Medequip is aiming to facilitate the redistribution of equipment in order to support people living in countries that have less effective social care than the UK. This is achieved through the redeployment of products that would otherwise not be reused.

Equipment that would qualify includes discontinued product lines, products no longer in use and unsatisfactory to recycle, and product lines described by the contract as obsolete.

In February 2022, the charity donation team collected donated stock from all London and Southeast locations and deliver them to the charity, ready for shipment out of the country.

A total of 72 items have been donated this time round which consisted of various equipment types such as walking aids, beds and commodes.

Justin Page, Manager of Medequip's Medway Depot said, Following the donation, the charity was hugely grateful. We look forward to continuing our partnership, bringing a lifeline to those not so fortunate to access community equipment.

As a business, through this opportunity, we can change the lives of many whilst continuing our mission of keeping people independent for longer - well done London team for your efforts!

Medequip has committed to continue donating from their London and Southeast depots monthly for the foreseeable future.

Date:

Medequip Add the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames to Its Community Equipment Services Contracts

Kingston Council and Medequip Logos

Medequip is pleased to announce that it will be the new provider of the Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) for Kingston residents from 1st April 2022. The service will utilise Redbridge Council’s ICES Framework in terms of how the service operates from a commissioned service point of view, with the day-to-day management of the service being led by Kingston Council.

The service supports children and adults who, due to their health or a disability, may need community equipment such as walking frames, hoists, crutches, and minor adaptations to help them live their day-to-day lives to maintain independence and wellbeing. The service underpins the council's priority to help children and adults be as safe, healthy, and independent as possible and to stay engaged with their communities. It also helps reduce pressures on social care and health front line services by hospital admission prevention and supporting discharge.

The Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) is jointly funded by Kingston in partnership with NHS Southwest London CCG and the service manages the supply, repair and maintenance of a wide range of health and social care equipment for residents of Kingston.

The Council encourages the residents themselves or family and friends supporting those in need of extra support to contact the Adult Social Care team for details on the support available.”

Kingston Council stated:

"We are committed to supporting Kingston residents to live independently in their own homes by offering individually tailored support to ensure their needs are met. The service gives vital support to residents to remain independent and live at home. It also aids to facilitate safe discharges, preventing admission and support End of Life care."

Medequip is looking forward to collaborating with its new partners and supporting people to live independently for longer.

Medequip also recently confirmed they are the new providers of the BHR (Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge) Integrated Community Equipment Service, which will also begin on 1st April 2022, working directly with health professionals within the London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham and Health and Social Care professionals in Havering and Redbridge.

Date:

New Medequip Partnership Recruiting Panel Members in London

YVHSC and Medequip Logos

Medequip is pleased to announce they have formed a new partnership with Your Voice in Health and Social Care (YVHSC).

YVHSC are an independent organisation that gives people a voice to improve and shape health and social care services.

Part of the 2022 partnership plans is to recruit a mixed panel of representatives across London to help improve the Community Equipment Service, which is currently covering 21 London Boroughs.

Over 200,000 people in London use Medequip equipment and aids prescribed by local Social Care and NHS services to support daily living. Along with the delivery of equipment, the service includes installation, repair, maintenance, collection and recycling.

“Be part of an exciting journey to improve the quality of daily living for thousands of people using mobility equipment and aids”

The new monthly panel meetings will bring together service users, their relatives and carers with community experts, to help Medequip better understand their service. The key aim is to find out what works well, areas for improvement, and help jointly develop a plan of progression.

Role Details:

  • Voluntary role
  • Monthly meetings
  • Expenses paid
  • Apply February 2022
  • First meeting 23rd March 2022

The panels’ role will be to advise, guide and support the project, in a partnership way, ensuring the best outcome for Medequip services users, their relatives and carers. This will be supported by YVHSC who will deliver on decisions made by the panel.

Tim Spilsbury, CEO of YVHSC stated, We are delighted to be partnering with Medequip on a project that gives people a real voice to improve and shape Medequip services. This co-production piece is the start of a journey that will ensure Medequip's valued services can better reflect the needs of the community and that the community can receive an ever-improving service. This will impact over 200,000 vulnerable people in London. We are proud to be a part of this exciting initiative.

If you use Medequip equipment and aids, are a relative/carer of somebody that does or are a community expert from a relevant charity/community/voluntary sector group, please join our panel and help improve this vital service for people in your area and across London.

The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 23rd March, meeting monthly for approximately six months to complete the initial work.

Key information and benefits of volunteering with YVHSC:

  • This will be offered initially as a virtual voluntary opportunity. We hope to meet face-to-face in the future, as the coronavirus situation changes.
  • Relevant expenses, including carers back-fill, will be paid per YVHSC’s expenses policy.
  • Participants will have access to all YVHSC’s training resources and be a part of a network of over 250 volunteers.
  • This is a social role where you will meet new people and work closely as a team.

For more information or to register your interest in joining the panel, please call 07944 391 223 or email vip@yvhsc.org.uk.

Date:

Medequip Invests In Cleaner Technology For London

Medequip Mercedes fully electric vans

Following trials with two vehicles initiated last year, Medequip has taken delivery of a further six zero emissions electric vans, already hard at work delivering community equipment services across 21 London boroughs.

With road vehicles identified as the leading cause of air pollution in London, Medequip took the decision to respond positively by investing in clean air technologies to get vital equipment into the community, helping people to stay independent for longer.

The Mercedes E-Sprinters chosen by Medequip produce no CO2 or NOx emissions and are amongst the cleanest vehicles in the world to drive, providing the best environmental solution for the busy streets of the capital.

This is stage one of our planned ‘clean air’ programme, which will see Medequip invest further in electric vehicles for use across the UK, stated Peter Gaunt, Fleet Manager for Medequip. By late spring of this year, zero emissions vehicles will make up 10% of our entire fleet.

The earlier trials demonstrated how well an electric van meets the requirements of the business. With vehicles scheduled efficiently to cover their defined areas, they are capable of completing a day of deliveries to homes on a single charge.

Fast charge capabilities up to 80% in just 60 minutes mean the vehicles can complete a recharge on return to the depots and be on the road again to meet delivery promises. There’s no compromise on storage either, as the electric drivetrain doesn’t impact on load space.

The E-Sprinters were supplied to Medequip by Intercounty Truck & Van Ltd and given their distinctive Medequip livery by specialists Mediafleet.

Date:

Medequip Assist in Set-up of Bristol Care Hotel Project

Medequip Operations Manager, Luke Derrick tells us about Medequip's involvement with a new project that could house up to 35 people that need to recover following their release from the hospital.

On the 7th of December, Bristol Community Equipment Services (BCES) contacted me us following the approval of a Care Hotel project being created in Bristol.

On the 7th of December, Bristol Community Equipment Services (BCES) contacted us following the approval of a Care Hotel project being created in Bristol.

They had a very short deadline to get 35 rooms set up for patients to be released from local hospitals but who remain in a care-provided setting until they have recuperated enough to return home.

The Care Hotel has live-in staff who are on hand to provide round-the-clock care.

We agreed to provide them with the service required. With an extensive list of equipment needing to be ordered, the depot and Medequip's purchasing department had a very short time frame to install it.

The initial requirement was for 75 pieces of equipment to be sent to the hotel. This included beds and mattresses (including bariatric specification products), over bed tables and commodes.

We were given 2 days to install, demonstrate and, in some cases, train the staff, some of whom were recruited from overseas to help. The hotel had to be open by the 20th of December.

Emersons Depot's Technician Team Leader, Joe Parker expedited a team of people to assist with the implementation.

We did not fail a single line, and the equipment was in place for the Care Hotel to go live on the 20th of December as planned.

Tom Lander, Commissioner for BCES spoke about the efforts of Medequip in getting the Care Hotel running. He said, I am very grateful for the support of Luke, Joe, Atlanta and all others in the local team at Medequip, as well as Arijan, Jade and others in the Procurement team in head office. They have been key to the success of this unprecedented project.

Medequip had short notice to procure all the equipment at a difficult time in the pandemic and the run-up to Christmas and New Year holidays. It was reassuring to know that everything was in place and carers trained in time for the first patients to arrive in the hotel.

Since the initial request, Medequip has provided more batches of equipment and will continue to deliver and collect from the hotel as the project progresses.

We are beyond proud of all involved, from start to finish, who helped us set up this fantastic initiative.

Date:

Wirral Falls Prevention Service Talk about the Bedroom in New Safety Article

Wirral Falls Prevention Service

Head of Medequip's Wirral Falls team, Julie Griffiths has collaborated with Independent Living, an established online disability & ageing advice website, contributing to their Bedroom Safety month.

In the article, Julie uses her experience in the field to explain possible ways for falls to occur in the bedroom and how to avoid them happening.

Discussing subjects such as bed safety and blood pressure to positioning and possible solutions, the article aims to teach ways to avoid falling in the bedroom and raise awareness for how easy it is to become a victim of trips and slips in your home.

Read here: https://www.independentliving.co.uk/advice/safety-around-the-bedroom/

Date:

Medequip's Royal Derby Hospital Retail Store Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Medequip Royal Derby Hospital Retail Store

Medequip's first-ever retail store within a hospital setting has recently celebrated its 2nd anniversary of opening.

Medequip offers self-funding options to empower independent living through choice, outside what can be prescribed through the Integrated Community Equipment Service for Derby City. This was one of the original reasons for creating the Royal Derby Hospital Store.

With the Covid pandemic and restrictions of visitors in place at Royal Derby Hospital, Medequip had to adapt its retail offering.

Unfortunately, in its first year, the store had to close to comply with restrictions due to COVID-19. Sales were then directed through Medequip's online retail store, Manage At Home (www.manageathome.co.uk) ensuring people could still find the equipment and information they were looking for.

Medequip's Retail & Promotions Manager, Alex Roberts explained, “Medequip retail stores have certainly had a challenging time throughout the Covid pandemic. Non-essential retail store closures, resource issues due to government guidance on self-isolation and reduced footfall have all impacted our retail operations. However, we've seen a positive shift towards using online services to purchase much-needed mobility and medical aids, which Manage At Home has facilitated throughout the pandemic.

'We continue to support our customers by offering home delivery services and by taking payments remotely to reduce the need to go to a physical retail store.”

The store has a dedicated team of Trusted Assessors, accredited to offer informed advice on a range of equipment. The friendly team consists of the duo, Andrea Bickerton and Tom Ivens, who can suggest appropriate equipment suitable for specific needs. Recommendations may take into account the user's height and weight requirements, for example.

We asked Andrea and Tom to provide their thoughts on the past two years since the opening of the store and the trials of working through a pandemic:

How did it feel in those first few weeks when you re-opened after the store was forced to close?

It felt great to be back at the shop and serving our customers and having that interaction with them. We spent far too long waiting to get back, so it was a relief when we got clearance!

Describe to us what a typical week would be like in the store?

It can vary, no week is the same! With the volume of customers and sales changing daily, we always have something to do. Outside of retail, we take calls from customers, who are either inquiring about products or wanting to return what they received through the equipment loan service.

Do you feel there can be a positive impact on the local community for being based in the hospital?

Yes. We feel that we are in the right place based at the hospital, and feel that it's also beneficial not just for customers but for the staff too. We'd recommend more of these shops in hospitals!

What are the highs and the lows of working at the store during the pandemic?

Highs are being here for customers who wanted to purchase equipment during the pandemic. Lows were being closed, as we could not provide the service we are here to do.

What were your most popular products last year?

Our popular items are Wheelchairs, Therapy Putty, Male and Female urinals, gel balls, suction mugs, etc... the list goes on! We have a lot of customers coming from nearby clinics as well as hospital visitors who stop at the store.

Describe an instance where you've had to advise products to a customer?

Tom had a customer the other day who wanted to purchase a raised toilet seat. The customer was unsure of the height required as they come in different sizes. Tom used his Trusted Assessor knowledge, using a commode as a guideline with the customer and measuring the seating height. He could tell by the customer's feet on the ground how high the raised toilet seat needed to be, and the customer was happy with the purchase of a 4'' raised toilet seat, ideal for his specifications.

You can find the Medequip Mobility Aids & Equipment Store within the Kings Treatment Centre at Royal Derby Hospital.

Illustration of Medequip Royal Derby Hospital Retail Store location in hospital

Date: 5th January 2022

Medequip Joins Forces with Dutch Medical Equipment Group, Medux

Medux and Medequip Logos

Medequip is the UK’s market leading provider of community equipment and complementary services to local authorities and the National Health Service (NHS). Medequip’s services enable individuals to live independently at home for longer, alleviating pressures on the NHS and other healthcare services. Located in Harmondsworth, close to Heathrow Airport, and with turnover of over £ 200m, Medequip employs more than 1,000 people.

James Ibbotson, CEO of Medequip looks forward to the collaboration with Medux. “This partnership is a major step forward for Medequip. By working alongside Medux, we can capitalise on its vast experience as the market leader in the Netherlands and further accelerate Medequip’s growth. Medux has an impressive reputation in the Dutch equipment market, and we look forward to our exciting future together with great confidence.”

Strengthening services

With a shared focus on ensuring healthcare remains affordable and accessible with an efficient supply of products and services, both Medux and Medequip have strong reputations amongst end users, prescribers and clients. In the Netherlands, Medux supplies more than 1.5 million medical devices annually via its brands Medipoint, HartingBank and Atlas Kidtech. In the UK Medequip visits more than 1.3 million customers every year delivering community equipment services, technology enabled care services (TECS), planned preventative maintenance (PPM) and minor adaptations. By joining forces, Medux and Medequip will strengthen their services and broaden their customer bases.

Significant Opportunities

“This is a big step forward for Medux”, says Jop Pollmann, CEO of Medux, “We are strengthening our position in the European equipment market; a market that is growing rapidly due to the ageing population and government policies to enable people to live at home independently for longer. This is something we are very familiar with and which provides significant opportunities for both Medux and Medequip.”

David Weavers, Partner at Clearwater International who advised Medequip states: “It’s been a pleasure to work with the Siddall family and the management team of Medequip. Medux has committed to further investment which will benefit the company and its various stakeholders. We wish both companies every success for the future.”

The organisations will continue to operate independently of each other. The proposed structure was submitted to the Dutch Healthcare Authority (Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit, NZa) for approval, the relevant regulatory authority in the Netherlands.

Date: December 2021

Back to Conferences and Exhibitions Live

Back to Conferences and Exhibitions Live

November was a busy month as delayed conferences and exhibitions took place, 3 in the month.

The Medequip marketing team firstly exhibited and supported the National Association of Equipment Providers (NAEP) conference held at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth. The conference provides a varied and extensive programme of speakers updating the delegate audience of contract managers and commissioners on the changes in Health and Social Care policy and having a focus on Person Centred Care. Emerging themes included falls prevention, the importance of integrating with community assets for example TLAP and National Voices, and the now published SCIE report A place we can call home: A vision and a roadmap for providing more options for housing with care and support for older people. Over 40 exhibitors included a wide range of equipment manufacturers and service providers. Medequip were delighted to provide sponsorship to the organisers.

Back to Conferences and Exhibitions Live

Later in the second week of the month Medequip attended and exhibited at the National Commissioning and Contracting Training Conference (NCCTC) at the Hayes Centre, Alfreton. Here the key theme was one of developing markets for the future using prevention first strategies and again referenced personalised care and the need to look at a hybrid model, using elements of the open market, partnerships and co-production.

Finally, Medequip exhibited at the OT Show. Back after a year away this popular exhibition and CPD learning opportunity for occupational therapy professionals provides an ideal opportunity to network and receive feedback from the many prescribers who work both with Medequip and others services to provide care equipment to those who need support. The Medequip exhibition stand this year featured a ‘live-scribe’ who, as part of our engagement, feedback collation and ultimately co-production of service delivery, recorded the thoughts and comments the OT Show delegates communicated to the team on our stand. View the full illustration. We spoke to over 500 delegates over the 2 days of the show. The feedback received will now be integrated into our development projects to improve service delivery further in 2022 and beyond.

Date: December 2021

BHRICES Contract Win for Medequip

BHRICES Logos

Medequip is delighted to announce that we have been awarded the BHR ICES contract, comprising of the London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge. The London management team has begun the engagement to guide all three Boroughs through a successful implementation process with a 'go live' date of 1st April 2022. The BHRICES contract is a framework agreement, open to all London Boroughs, and we have already been approached by other London Boroughs expressing an interest.

Date: December 2021

Community Engagement and Co-production in London takes off!

Community Engagement and Co-production in London takes off!

Working with Healthwatch in London

Medequip are in the process of setting up a Co-production Panel facilitated by Your Voice in Health and Social Care (yvhsc.org.uk) who hold the contracts for providing the local Healthwatch services across 6 London boroughs.

The panel will be made up of People who use our Services, representatives of Healthwatch, prescribers of community equipment and colleagues who work for Medequip.

The initial piece of work will be to review and adapt a standard user survey provided by Healthwatch to ensure that it covers all aspects of community equipment service provision, before it is circulated to the wider group of people who use the service.

Stage 2 will involve the collation of this feedback and identification of potential projects to review and change services appropriately taking into account wider Health and Social Care reforms that national and local government and the NHS policy leads and influences.

Volunteering

Medequip policy enables and encourages 8000 volunteer hours per year by our colleagues. Driven by our vision ‘Keeping People Independent for Longer’ we aim to work within our local communities to support projects and give something back.

Examples recently undertaken in London include a gardening project for Parkfield House Nursing Home in Uxbridge, providing support at Sahara Care, Barking and work at “Dexters Adventure Playground” part of the Big Kid Foundation in Lambeth. This is a youth club that has been closed for some time and needs quite a bit of attention to get it back up and running. We have also supported the Forever Young Festival in Greenwich and provided marshals for an Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

Employing People Living with a Disability

In July 2021 Medequip agreed to work with the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) to broaden the training and employment opportunities for disabled people. BASE have assisted in linking up each Medequip depot with local support organisations to recruit local people with a disability. Across the country this has resulted in Medequip employing an additional 8 people with a disability increasing the current total to 59 of our employees who declare they have a disability. In London, work with Dynamic Training Ltd, Forward2Employment and Maximus UK has added 5 new employees to our headcount to date.

Date: December 2021

What a Year

2021 to 2022

David Griffiths, Managing Director shares his reflections on 2021, and his thoughts on the year ahead.

As 2021 comes to a cold, wet and windy end, the people of Medequip continue to amaze me through what has been another challenging year. Their focus, their sense of purpose and their warmth and humanity have kept the show on the road and made my day, every day, including many weekends (with my apologies to Mrs. Griffiths). We recognise this through our Employee of the Month Award and Big Thank-You Day.

I have also been amazed by the resilience of the people we support and their families, the many fantastic community organisations out there, and the wider health and social care system. It’s a system of many moving parts and I am extremely proud of the part played by Medequip.

Through our mature relationships with supply networks and our experience in joint working with Prescribers, Commissioners, and local organisations we were able to maintain, and in some areas help with additional services, which has been so important to peoples’ quality of life and independence.

Through 2021 Medequip has continued to grow and is now working with more partners than ever. So, as a national organisation, in England and Wales, across cities, towns, villages and some spectacular countryside, I am more determined than ever that the Medequip service offer works alongside local communities. We use local businesses wherever we can, and we recruit locally. I have asked Community Catalysts to support us build a community feedback process, and each depot is building links with local organisations to ensure local people are involved in improving things.

As a leading organisation you might expect us to have a lot to say. We do, where we can add value to local or national conversations. For example, in improving the hospital discharge process, in prevention and early intervention, in the switch to Digital Telecare services, and always in increasing efficiency and effectiveness.

As a leading organisation you might also expect us to perform, and we do. Despite significant inbound supply chain issues impacting on the UK we are still completing over 99.2% of our activities on time.

But you might not know we are also an organisation of big listeners. Not passively. No, we believe listening is a doing word.

- If the NHS is to achieve its ambition of proactive, place-based health and wellbeing services,

- If Local Government wants to support people to live in places they call home, and

- If communities want to be involved, respected and supported….

For 2022, we are listening.

Date: December 2021

Disability Confident and Working with BASE

Disability Confident and Working with BASE

2021 was the year of the National Disability Strategy National Disability Strategy (publishing.service.gov.uk) and the year Medequip reached level two of the Department of Work and Pensions Disability Confident scheme. Important stuff for us all.

Medequip have a national working partnership with the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE), who have in turn introduced us to their local member organisations who supported us with recruitment of people with a disability into both apprenticeship and full-time roles working for Medequip.

But for this article we choose to focus on one man, who doesn’t work for Medequip, who we met when the BASE invited us to sponsor an award at their annual conference this year.

Junior Mark Cryle was presented with the David Grainger award for 'Employee of the Year' by Aditi Dave, our HR Business Partner.

You can read more about Junior’s journey and the support and work opportunity that helped him achieve this award Best Practice Awards 2021 | British Association for Supported Employment (base-uk.org) and you can see and hear from the man himself in the video of his acceptance speech.

Date: December 2021

Medequip and Healthwatch – Working Together Towards Co-production

Medequip's focus on co-production has been enhanced and enriched by our partnership with health and social care champions at Healthwatch Suffolk.

Healthwatch recently hosted workshops for Medequip staff on how to best approach co-production. For a national organisation like Medequip, striving to acquire a shared understanding of co-production right across the organisation, from technicians, cleaners, and drivers to senior managers and directors, is a grand mission.

It's about looking at what we can do to truly enhance the service we provide for our service users
Michaela Harris, General Manager

So how did it go?

Su Conquer, Co-production Coordinator at Healthwatch Suffolk, provided us with her thoughts following the workshops.


From day one, Medequip staff showed excitement when they realised how the ethos of co-production could help improve their work with the public, she said. As a direct result of our conversations, co-production workshops now form part of the induction process for new staff at Medequip from the ground up. The engagement and contributions from new starters at the workshops showed how a new culture can be embedded, providing them with a greater sense of empowerment through the knowledge that they have the chance to feed into service improvements too.


Healthwatch Suffolk and Medequip have also joined up with a Collaborative Working Agreement, which includes ensuring a shared understanding of co-production and also a promise to improve the collection of people's feedback.

Healthwatch too has learned from facilitating these workshops. Medequip staff at all levels have contributed to the organisation's thinking about how to embed the principles of co-production into practice. Embedding a training programme across the organisation is a big step forward towards this philosophy, and is the first towards engaging with the community in a meaningful, equal, and accessible way.

No matter how large or small the organisation, a shared understanding is vital to climbing the ladder of co-production. From consultation, to user engagement and involvement all the way up to sharing power equally when we co-produce with people who use services – co-production workshops are an interactive way to learn and build as a team.

Date: December 2021

Medequip Welcomes First Permanent 'PURE' Employee

Medequip Welcomes First Permanent PURE Employee

For community equipment specialists Medequip, adding social value is an important consideration as part of the organisation's work in supporting many of the more vulnerable members of our society. Following a successful placement, Medequip has now welcomed the first candidate to join the company as a permanent employee under the auspices of Birmingham's highly successful PURE project.

The PURE project (Placing vulnerable Urban Residents into Employment) is the brainchild of Birmingham City Council and a group of eight providers including Midland Mencap, MIND, Birmingham & Solihull Women's AID, BID Services, Trident Reach, Fry Accord, Rathbone and Swanswell. Part funded by the European Social Fund, PURE brings together a range of coordinated interventions designed to assist the needs of the most vulnerable citizens with barriers into the employment market.

Medequip has worked closely with Birmingham City Council for many years, providing community equipment services to the people of Birmingham. Operations Manager for the West Midlands Jo Page has been involved with this project since early in 2020. We have been able to welcome a number of PURE candidates, despite a brief hiatus because of the COVID-19 lockdowns, she explained. We were always convinced we had the right environment to support, mentor and guide individuals through to employment, education and training in line with the PURE objectives.

Manjit was one of the first people introduced to Medequip via PURE. Manjit has minor learning disabilities and had struggled in employment, not because of his own abilities but largely due to the inability of others to recognise his needs. Prior to joining Medequip in September 2020, Manjit had not worked for 12 years.

Manjit quickly became in important member of our team, confirmed Jo. With some initial support, his confidence grew and he became an integral part of our operation. He is well respected by his colleagues and by the management team for his commitment and dedication.

Manjit himself is enjoying his new role and benefiting from the experience and the direction it gives to his life. He confirms that he feels safe and happy working with Medequip, enjoying the friendships with colleagues and looking forward to coming into work each day. Manjit is one of my most committed employees, confirmed Jo. Involvement with the PURE project has had significant benefits for our organisation too, and we are considering permanent employment for others who have completed placements within the business.

Date: December 2021

Our retiring Health and Care Adviser, Chris Brothwood briefly reflects on his 5 years at Medequip

Chris Brothwood

People often make a big thing about what sort of organisation they work in. In Health and Social Care, whether you are a purchaser or provider, public, private or voluntary sector can mean a lot to us.

So, after 35 years in the public sector, I joined a private sector provider, the often-labelled 'dark side' and guess what, they asked, how come you have left the dark side to join us?

This may be a challenging place for some, however, not for me as my career path was the ideal preparation. I had managed wide ranging services within the public sector, mostly around Rehabilitation and Disability, so unusually was practised in partnership working with the private sector and with the commissioning of services. It helped that I already knew this industry well but the main appeal for me was the company's clear ethos on service provision and passion to keep people independent for longer along with a desire to work in partnership with health and social care.

This Advisor role began as a 3-month mutual trial and has lasted nearly 5 years so we must have mutually thought it to be a good fit. Naturally joining any new organisation on a trial basis, has challenges and I describe it at times like 'a stranger amongst friends' but once you get past any initial level of suspicion of an ex-public sector manager speaking a “different language” being embedded into a well-established senior management team, it is much like any other organisation.

The best analogy by far to describe the any differences is to quote Jo Cox, We are more united and have far more in common with each other, than things that which divides us.

Key for me should you consider a move to either 'dark side' is the willingness to listen, understand and to see matters from different perspectives. Both sectors must not only understand each other but accept the behaviours that are governed by the different pressures they encounter. A good sense of humour also helps!

My goal was to have and to leave a positive impact on the business. The role demanded an open, honest approach that sometimes led to some bemusement as we started to understand different viewpoints but overall, what was more important was the conversation, that others will judge as leading to positive change.

So, should others consider opportunities on the dark side should they arise? My answer in a final Star Wars quote is *The Force, it's calling to you. Just let it in.

Date: December 2021

The London Next Day Project

Enhancing our service to improve wellbeing

London Next Day

Medequip is committed to constant improvement, enhancing our services for the people who rely on us to help them stay independent for longer. This was the key focus behind the London Next Day Project, which was initiated towards the end of 2020 working in close cooperation with our partners in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Waltham Forest.

The key objective was to contribute towards improved wellbeing for people who use our services by stepping up our response times to ensure they received their equipment more quickly. Collections were also included to support our return, recycle, reuse performance enabling faster re-issue to new service users. The associated challenge was to achieve this without incurring extra cost for the Boroughs who fund our service.

Initially, prescribers in the two Boroughs were encouraged to place orders for both deliveries and collections as ‘next day’ priority, aiming to reduce any reliance on Emergency orders. The Medequip teams undertook to step up the service from five days per week to a six day week, including Saturdays, for Borough residents.

How was this achieved?

We needed to achieve a number of things in order to maintain these levels of service. We reshaped our technician and management resources to cover the six day week, and calculated new tariffs to average out any additional costs. Stock levels were rigorously monitored and maintained to guarantee availability of goods. Daily reports were produced to track speed usage and spend accurately, whilst weekly monitoring assessed and reviewed both numbers of activities and cost to the Boroughs.

In turn, the Boroughs initiated regular internal communications and webinars to influence a change in prescriber culture and behaviours to optimise the revised service levels. Ongoing monitoring was carried out to ensure prescribers were raising orders on correct delivery speeds, and ‘prescriber guides’ were produced to be shared with other members of the London Consortium (the largest and longest outsourced Community Equipment service in the UK, managed by Medequip) to assist with the implementation of our Next Day Project in the future.

Both Boroughs have been very satisfied with the outcome of the project, with Next Day orders increased from an average of 15% to 50% without any corresponding increases in activity costs. Feedback from teams such as Rapid Response and Hospital Discharge has been extremely positive, and Medequip has experienced no detrimental effects on KPIs or equipment stock levels. Both contracts remain on the next day model,

Into the future – the Next Day Project Phase 2

On November 1st this year, both Wandsworth and Lambeth also adopted the Next Day Project approach. After just a month, both contracts have progressed to achieving 40% of all orders at this level. There has been very positive feedback from the prescriber teams for faster deliveries which are assisting with hospital discharges, and Commissioners at both Boroughs are happy with the significant progress made.

Date:

Medequip Sets Sights on Co-production at the Occupational Therapy Show 2021

We are exhibiting at OT Show 2021 - stand F10 - 24, 25 Novemebr 2021

Medequip is delighted to announce that we will be exhibiting at the Occupational Therapy Show (OT Show), on 24-25 November 2021, at the NEC Birmingham on stand F10.

Opportunities to exhibit at conferences such as this provide companies like ourselves the chance to reach out to prescribers, occupational therapists and Contract commissioners to improve outcomes for service users.

Medequip is excited to be further involved with people at this level, using our stand to promote both Medequip community equipment services and the developing portfolio from Medequip Connect, currently delivering the first analogue to digital TEC Service changeover in the UK, at a Borough-wide scale of 3,500+ service users.

For the first time, we can announce that we are bringing a professional scribe to this year's show, who will be illustrating ideas and input from stand visitors onto our Medequip scribe wall.

We hope that this can offer a visual projection of how we can improve, with the help of the people who use our service daily.

Visitors to the stand can also learn about our award-winning Falls Prevention Service, our Equipment Recycling programs and more of our existing and upcoming plans, and provide any information needed on all topics relating to our services.

We’ll be demonstrating the latest Lifestyle Monitoring/DAP systems that brings innovation into people’s daily lives to help families and carers transition from reactive to preventative care.

We're looking forward to using this space to share knowledge and gain experience about the promising future of Technology Enabled Care.

Date:

Wirral Partner with Medequip and Alcuris to Unveil Digital Telecare Transformation at Borough-wide Scale

Wirral Partner with Medequip and Alcuris to Unveil Digital Telecare Transformation

An innovative new Council programme will see upwards of a £1.5 million invested to transform telecare services for thousands of residents in Wirral over the next few years.

Telecare is care and support provided to people remotely for example, through phone services or safety alarms that enable people to call for help if they need it. Currently, more than 3,500 Wirral residents have been assessed as eligible for the borough's telecare offer.

The new scheme will see the Council introduce next generation telecare services -- shifting the focus from reacting to crisis events (such as accidents or falls), to preventing them. The project will be delivered alongside Wirral's commissioned community equipment and telecare provider, Medequip, and care technology specialists, Alcuris.

Wirral Council is one of the UK's first local authorities to transfer residents from analogue telecare systems to new next generation services at this scale. The digital system will create opportunities for early, preventative interventions and reduce hospital admissions. New devices that can detect signs of health deterioration, such as smart plugs and movement sensors, will be introduced from November this year.

Read the full article on the Medequip Connect website

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Finding Purpose - the Medequip Journey Continues

Finding Purpose - the Medequip Journey Continues

I came across this the other day in a report by Accenture: 6 Business Change Signals | Business Futures | Accenture.

There is a growing consensus that the interests of both society and investors are best served by organisations that focus on multi-dimensional value creation for the benefit of all their stakeholders, not just shareholders.

So far so obvious, as long as we are all clear on the multi-dimensional value creation thing.

The report goes on to say that 43% of 521 of the largest organisations in the world underperform on environmental, social and governance issues despite investing in them.

It’s probably fair to say that whether you run a private, public or voluntary sector organisation, these areas will always be a work in progress.

I’ll save the environmental update for a future blog, but for now, I’m thinking to myself, as a private sector organisation delivering public services, how do I measure how well Medequip is doing to meet its core purpose.

I know we provide monitoring reports to Commissioners on each of our (41) contracts.

We also have customer care teams to contact people who use our services to see how we did.

And then we have a whole range of internal quality assurance and external audit processes, including all the industry-standard ones, plus recent applications to the Think Local, Act Personal Making it Real commitment Making it Real - Think Local Act Personal and the Department of Work and Pensions Disability Confident employer scheme Disability Confident employer scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). More details on these another time.

But do any of these tell me if Medequip is achieving its purpose of keeping people independent, and happier, for longer? Not really.

That requires a system-wide definition of the issues, agreement on the metrics and the process of collecting, analysing and reporting on the data, and most importantly a commitment to hearing the voices of people who use the services.

The work to bring health and social care together in Integrated Care Systems will help with this, but there is no guarantee every ICS will come up with the same approach to data or working with people who use services and private sector providers.

So, to my mind, we all need to work harder at getting a systematic and evidenced response to the question - have we helped people stay independent, and happier, for longer? This means we have to find answers that are good enough for now, at the same time as working to find better answers in the future.

Which reinforced my belief in the journey we have embarked on to get better at co-production and community engagement. Because, with the utmost respect to our Commissioners and the contracting authorities that employ them, it is the people who use our services, their families and friends and the communities that support them that we need to hear from, and work with, to answer the question.

I’d like to tell you I’ve found a simple answer, but I can’t.

But I can tell you the answers are simple.

The first of the Medequip values is to do what we say we are going to do - To keep our promise. That’s a good start.

Next, we will continue to listen and learn. My team and I have had some amazing conversations recently. Passionate Commissioners, inspiring voluntary sector leaders, committed and loyal staff, and we are putting the infrastructure in place to have more direct conversations with the people who use our services.

We know everyone is busy keeping the show on the road, but if you can make time to talk to us, please do.

Finally, we all know numbers count, but so do stories too. Recently Medequip had a very busy month, our busiest ever, in fact, knocking on an average of 4,700 doors a day.

It’s an impressive number, but behind each of those doors is someone with a story. We already have systems in place for counting activity, and we are working with Commissioners to improve the reporting of the difference we’ve made.

But to hear more of the stories, and to learn from people and the community groups that support them and how Medequip can help deliver on its promises, we are working with Community Catalysts Social Enterprise and Community Interest | Community Catalysts to help us co-produce a community feedback process.

I can’t promise we’ll collect 4,700 stories every day. But I can promise we’ll do more, as we continue to find ways to evidence our purpose of keeping people independent, and happier, for longer.

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Medequip to Provide Community Equipment Services Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

Medequip to Provide Community Equipment Services Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

Community equipment specialists Medequip have been awarded a five year contract to provide an Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service (ICELS) for adults, children and young people in community, care and education settings across the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR).

The Medequip service, which commences in April 2022, will align closely with the future development of health and social care services across the region. Loan equipment supplied by Medequip will facilitate independent living in the community, palliative care, rehabilitation and end of life care. The service will provide vital support for carers, working with clinicians and other professionals to enable early discharge from hospitals alongside reductions in admissions and readmissions.

Medequip will also work to support a new model of care called ‘Home First’ being developed collectively by commissioning and provider organisations across LLR. The underlying principle of LLR Home First offer is to enable individuals to stay out of hospital and remain safe and well at their chosen place of residence, where they call home. When hospital admissions are inevitable, then the programme encourages appropriately planned discharges to enable individuals to return to their homes or community environment as soon as appropriate, with the minimum risk of readmission.

Medequip will play a key role in facilitating faster discharges from hospital, sometimes within two hours, which may require the delivery and installation of more complex support equipment into the home environment. Admission avoidance is also an essential part of the service model, and the Medequip service will need to be agile to achieve the required changes in health and social care response times for rehabilitation, reablement and recovery as well as supporting vital end of life pathways.

Under the terms of the contract and the Social Value Charter adopted by LLR, Medequip will also be required to deliver social value for the area, with the aim to make LLR a better place to live, work and further develop community confidence and pride.

“We are looking forward to working closely with our partners in LLR to deliver the new Home First care model,” stated James Ibbotson, CEO at Medequip. “We operate a responsive service capable of meeting the challenges of these changing requirements, providing an ICELS for LLR which matches the aspirations for those leading the drive for improvements in health and social care into the future.”

Julie Morley, ICELS Partnership Manager for LLR, is positive about the potential for the future. “Our Home First concept is all about ensuring people get the right care, in the right place, whenever they need it. Working closely with Medequip, we are confident we can continue to deliver this safely, reliably and cost effectively.”

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At Medequip, We're Proud to be Disability Confident Committed

Medequip / Disability Confident Committed

The Disability Confident movement is working to change the way employers think about disability, taking action to improve how they recruit, retain and help to develop opportunities for disabled people.

At Medequip, we're committed to adding social value in everything we do, so accreditation as a Disability Confident Committed organisation presented us with a real opportunity to lead the way and play a role in improving how we open the world of work to people living with disabilities.

So what does it mean? To achieve recognition we had to demonstrate that we are inclusive and operate accessible recruitment processes. Our vacancies have to be communicated externally and internally, including disability support agencies, and we commit to offering interviews to people with disabilities and support existing employees, as well as providing reasonable adjustments for those living with disabilities.

We also commit to carrying out various programmes across our network of depots, including activities such as work experience and work trials, paid employment, job shadowing and traineeships. Our involvement with the PURE (Placing Vulnerable Urban Residents into Employment) project led by Birmingham City Council, where we provide work experience and now have one candidate in permanent employment, is an excellent example of how well this can work to the benefit of our business and the people we support.

The Disability Confident Committed movement was developed by employers and disabled people's representatives. It's a voluntary scheme, and access to the guidance, assessments and resources to help us along the way has been completely free of charge; we would encourage other organisations to explore the potential and see how they can be involved.

View our Disability Confident Committed certificate that certifies that Medequip Assistive Technology is Disability Confident Committed certificate number DCS026517

Updated 23/09/21

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COVID-19: Medequip Corporate Statement (Updated)

Medequip Assistive Technology is a responsible organisation with a clear commitment to employee safety, and is following guidance from the World Health Organisation, the NHS and other informed government bodies to mitigate risk during the current public health crisis.

During these challenging times, measures to ensure the protection of our employees and their families, our service users and our visitors are at the heart of everything we do.

Our dedicated COVID-19 Coordination Group has met regularly since the beginning of March 2020, bringing together the expertise and commitment of our Directors and Senior Managers.

This group focuses on effective business continuity planning, including liaison with suppliers to maintain the supply of medical equipment into our warehouses, enhanced infection control prevention measures and detailed operational planning designed to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our teams and our service users across the country.

We continue to adopt a measured and informed approach to ensuring the safety of all who work with and come into contact with our organisation as we go about our daily business, providing equipment and support to the more vulnerable members of our society.

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At Last – Our Roadshow Returns!

David Griffiths - Managing Director (Medequip)

It’s been well over a year since our last outing, but at long last the Manage At Home and Medequip roadshow is out and about again, and we’ve got lots planned for the future! First stop the Great Yorkshire Show, from 13-16 July, where we’ll be spreading the word from our mobile exhibition unit, sharing information, advice and special offers.

It’s really important for us to get back to participating in face to face events. We need to get across our messages on issues as important as how to access support and equipment as well as continuously telling people how important it is to return community equipment and not hide it in your attic or send it to the charity shop when you’ve finished with it!

Help the NHS by making sure it’s returned to us and we can then make sure it’s checked, cleaned and issued to someone else who may need it.

So what are we doing at the Great Yorkshire Show? You can find us on Stand 432, which is near the Big Wheel – that will certainly be visible right across the showground! We’ll be giving out information packs and details on how to return community equipment after use. If you have anything to return, pick up one of our leaflets – when you return the item, you can fill it in and enter our prize draw to win a £100 Manage At Home voucher.

If you use a walking stick, we’re running a free service to check the ferrule – that’s the little rubber tip that makes contact with the ground and stops the stick from slipping. As part of our commitment to Falls Prevention, we’ll replace it free of charge for you if it’s worn or damaged.

Special offers on some great new products too – 20% off the Ta-Da Chair, a versatile walking stick that converts into a seat at the touch of a button – very useful for taking the weight off your feet as you walk round the showground. We’ll also have reductions on the Shoe Helper, designed to help you both put on and take off your shoes.

As we begin to attend events, the health and safety of our staff and visitors is paramount and we’ll be following all the relevant government guidelines to ensure everyone stays safe. We look forward to seeing you at the Great Yorkshire Show!

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David Griffiths: Co-production and Community Engagement at Medequip

David Griffiths - Managing Director (Medequip)

In my last blog on why language matters I said Medequip will never make claims about co-production, instead we would make sure our partners and people who use our various services could speak for themselves.

So, I was very pleased to hear in National Co-production Week (5-9 July) that, in one of our contract areas, we are working with the local Healthwatch to collect people’s experiences of using our service. This is a great piece of joint-working.

Whilst Medequip has a long history of keeping people independent for longer, it is the Healthwatch organisation in each area that has the skills, and indeed the duty, to enable people to shape, influence and improve NHS and social care services.

I look forward to working with the commissioners and Healthwatch to continue building on the efforts of a great many people who have kept the services of both organisations operating in such difficult times.

In addition, Medequip is working with a community development organisation to make sure we have a model of feedback that involves the wider community too. I’m very excited about this work.

Lots of people and organisations, including Medequip are rightly talking about “working with the community”, and we have already taken some practical steps towards this. For example, we recently made a commitment to work with the Huddersfield Giants Community Development Foundation.

But as I talk to people across the country, in areas where we already work, and in areas where we think we could provide a great service, I’m learning that “working with the community” means many different things.

That’s why I asked for help.

Each area has its own unique organisations and challenges as well as dealing with many common issues.

The pace of NHS and social care integration is different.

Some areas have more well-developed infra-structure and funding arrangements to support the voluntary sector. Rural and urban areas are obviously different, but so too are the large metropolitan areas.

For a large organisation like Medequip this means arranging our work on co-production and community engagement flexibly, building our skills and supporting our people. Sometimes it means thinking small, sometimes big. Sometimes technology and data will be the answer, sometimes it will only play a small part.

Whatever the case. I promise that myself, and Medequip, will be curious, ask questions and listen carefully before jumping in with our (my) ideas on what’s needed.

So, to finish, recently I was pleased to see a potential Local Authority partner requesting bidders show how they would use an “ethnographic approach” to developing the service. Someone we work with described this as the process of “deep hanging around with people”.

I think he means getting to know people and listening to them and I think that’s another great way Medequip can help people stay independent for longer.

If you are an existing or potential partner of Medequip, or use our contract or retail services why not get in touch to let me know what you think.

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Medequip Retains CES Contract for Derby City

Medequip Retains CES Contract for Derby City

We are pleased to announce that we've been awarded a new contract by NHS Derby & Derbyshire CCG and Derby City Council to provide CES (Community Equipment Services) across the city until the end of November, 2023.

Medequip has partnered with NHS Derby & Derbyshire CCG and Derby City Council since 2011, managing the Equipment Loan Service and helping to keep the people of Derby City independent in their own homes for longer. This new contract underlines the commitment to performance and cooperation underpinning the Medequip service.

There are some significant changes within the framework of the contract, designed to further improve responses to Service Users as well as maintaining the quality of the service. The new contract will see the introduction of three levels of service delivery. Delivery Speed 1 means equipment will be delivered within four hours from the time of prescription. This will enable fast turnaround to support hospital discharges requiring urgent equipment deliveries. Delivery Speed 2 guarantees delivery within 24 hours, and Delivery Speed 3 will enable equipment deliveries within three days. Creating these levels will enable Medequip to react swiftly to the most urgent requirements.

When equipment is required to be transferred between locations, the transfer speeds used to be within three days, but will now fall under three new service speed options. Transfer Speed 1 will mean equipment can be transferred from the current location to the new location within four hours. Transfer Speed 2, within 24 hours and Transfer Speed 3, within three days. Collections of equipment no longer required will be within 5 days.

Alongside the contracted Equipment Loan Service work, Medequip will be providing equipment to support the local KITE (Kids In Their Environment) Community Nursing Team. These specialist nurses work with children and young adults with long-term conditions requiring extra care and support, enabling them to be nursed at home. Medequip will also be providing clinical consumables and clinical equipment to all adults with long-term conditions that fall into the specialist services category.

Medequip has also established the company’s very first retail shop in an acute setting at Royal Derby Hospital. This has now been open for over a year, although lockdown has restricted activities. The shop is already realising significant successes, complementing the contractual work and prescribed equipment with an expanded range of products for self-funders, supported by trained staff to advise on relevance and use.

Our partnership with NHS Derby & Derbyshire CCG and Derby City Council is based on experience, knowledge and mutual trust,” stated Glen Dennis, Operations Manager. “We look forward to building further on this relationship to continue to provide relevant and appropriate services to people living in the city, helping to keep them safe and independent at home.

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Alert On New Scam Preying On Community Equipment Users

Community equipment services company Medequip has been increasingly concerned about reports of scam phone calls to users of community equipment. The scammers are telling people that they have to provide their bank account details in order to receive the equipment that has been prescribed to them by a health or social care professional.

These callers have nothing whatsoever to do with Medequip. Items such as hospital beds at home, toileting aids, bath lifts, rise and recline chairs and other assistive equipment necessary to keep people safe and independent in their own homes are provided by the NHS and local councils though Medequip and are totally free of charge to the user.

Medequip would like to remind their service users and others that they should never give out their bank details, their PIN numbers or transfer money. Medequip will never request these details. The calls identified so far have been focused around the London area, but Medequip would like to alert all service users across the country to the constant danger of scam calls from unscrupulous fraudsters.

Anyone worried that they may have been a victim of this activity should contact their bank immediately.

For more information, please contact Medequip Customer Services – London 020 8750 1580 or enquiries@medequip-uk.com

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David Griffiths: My Language Matters

Language stock image

A few things I've learned

Some time ago I realised that Medequip needed to set out on a journey. "Sensible thinking" I hear you say, using a road analogy for a health and social care logistics company.

The company had grown to be the largest provider of Integrated Community Equipment Services in the country. With nearly 1000 employees, 40 contracts delivered from 23 depots, new services in development and a turnover of nearly £190 million.

But this wasn’t a journey to get bigger, or faster, or anything you could measure easily.

This would be a journey to be more curious, to think smaller and to connect with people differently.

This is where it gets interesting. We started working with a consultant, but it seemed he was using a different language. When I said customers, he thought I meant Service Users. He called my customers partners, and the Service Users, well he referred to them as people who used services.

We’ve all realised we have to understand how our use of language affects people and the way we think about them.

I learned that language can create assumptions.

So, we agreed to improve our approach to working with people, to getting them more involved in how the business worked.

We have experience of running and being involved in surveys, consultations and Service User forums. But now we are going a few steps further and learning how to co-produce with people.

So, then I had to learn about the ladder of co-production, and how hard it is to climb.

We’re working with a number of organisations to help us get better and our experiences responding to the pandemic taught us a lot. But co-production? We’re not there yet.

In fact, it’s best not to think too much about it, just listen to people, be curious about their lives and always be open and honest with them.

I’ve learned that when the time comes, other people can tell us when we have co-produced something, in the meantime we won’t say it about ourselves. In a future blog I hope to be able to tell you all what difference this journey has made, to the people we support, their families, the communities they are part of and the other organisations that work with them.

For now, I’m learning the language of outcomes. That most elusive of concepts.

There's lots of help out there, and Adult Social Care, Health and Public Health have very clear outcomes frameworks and CECOPS are working on this. Most recent tenders reference them all, along with their own maintenance outcomes, improvement outcomes, outcomes for people, communities and systems.

But of course, people still want to know how much and how quickly.

We are engaging with and expecting to do some work with an organisation who have a background in community development. We’ve learned a lot just from talking to them.

They talked about the “meaningful moments” Medequip staff have with people who use the service and the phrase “smiles given for miles driven” popped into my head.

Now that’s my kind of language.

– David Griffiths, Managing Director

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Medequip Launches New Emergency Responder Service In Carlisle

Medequip Connect Launches New Emergency Responder Service In Carlisle

Medequip Assistive Technology, the UK’s leading community equipment services provider, has announced that the company is to extend its Medequip Connect service across the Carlisle area. Alongside personal care alarms, equipment and support, Medequip Connect will be providing a 24 hour Emergency Response service developed to provide total protection for elderly and vulnerable users in Carlisle.

Medequip has made significant investments in its digital platform to enable the company to support some of the most sophisticated equipment now on the market. The new responder service supplements this to provide peace of mind for families and carers, knowing assistance is available 24 hours a day at the touch of a button.

Medequip Connect offers totally flexible solutions which can be tailored to individual requirements. These range from simple analogue base units connecting to a telephone line with pendant call button and link to a 24/7 monitoring centre, through to more sophisticated digital devices including automatic fall detection systems and voice activated alarms that continue to operate even during power outages. The Emergency Response service closes the loop to provide end to end support.

Medequip Connect has also introduced a quick and easy online referral process for professionals, accessible via a clear green button at the top of the Home page on the website. This links to an online form designed for GPs, OTs and carers to fill to complete the referral.

In addition, Medequip Connect supports a full range of clever GPS ‘wearables’ designed for use in the event of emergencies outdoors … anywhere in the world in fact… so help can still be at the touch of a button whether there’s an emergency on a country walk or the wearer is holidaying away from home.

The packages go even further to match individual needs, covering wellbeing calls to check on individuals, including a friendly chat and medication reminders. Home Safety Kits include ‘bogus caller’ buttons together with heat, smoke and Co2 detectors. Smart Home kits are also available with an app for family and carers to check on their loved ones, and Memory Support devices can help those who may be a little forgetful, including the latest advanced pill dispensers with alert monitoring.

Costs start at just £2.99 per week. For users signing up for the Emergency Response service, Medequip Connect sends a trained responder to assess individual needs to decide whether the client is at risk from medical emergencies, falls or personal distress. The service responds to 97% of all callouts within 20-45 minutes, faster than the average ambulance wait time for a fall.

The Carlisle specialist service is a pilot for Medequip Connect. The company will be assessing responses and requirements with a view to rolling out the service in other areas of the UK over the next 12 months.

For further information, please contact Stephen McKee, Medequip Connect Head of Business Development on 0800 910 1390 or at Stephen.McKee@medequip-uk.com

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Medequip Underlines Commitment To Community Engagement

Medequip Underlines Commitment To Community Engagement

Commitment to corporate social responsibility initiatives is a key objective for community equipment specialists Medequip, and the company actively seeks out opportunities to engage with and support the communities in which it operates. As part of this drive, Medequip is delighted to announce that the company is now an Official Partner to the Huddersfield Giants Community Trust (HGCT).

HGCT is a non-profit making organisation responsible for all community sports and educational activities on behalf of Huddersfield Giants Rugby League, aiming to inspire people of all ages and abilities in four key areas, namely sport, education, health and social inclusion. The Trust successfully engages with over 200,000 people every year through sports coaching within local schools, grassroots clubs and the wider community. At the home base, known as The Zone, the Trust has its own post-16 education facilities as well as delivering the NCS programme to hundreds of young people in the area every year.

The focus is on building a stronger community where everyone belongs, and Medequip will work alongside the Trust in a number of different ways to support this aspiration. Plans include giving Medequip staff time out to volunteer to support the Trust as well as providing funding and sponsorship for smaller community projects under the umbrella of HGCT.

In addition, the Medequip team will use their expertise and access to equipment to ensure the Trust’s facilities are inclusive and user friendly, as well as providing community engagement sessions which aim to help older people become more independent through use of mobility aids and gadgets – a particular area of expertise for Medequip through Group company Medequip Connect.

Martin Eastwood

"Community Partnerships encompass all Medequip’s values", stated Mark Rance, Operations Manager at Medequip. "When Martin Eastwood, one of our technicians, approached us to support HGCT we were more than happy to explore the opportunity further. The HGCT team is passionate about the work they carry out, and we look forward to supporting the Trust to inspire and create opportunities for the people of Kirklees."

Lisa Darwin, CEO of Huddersfield Giants Community Trust, comments: "After initially meeting Steve Smith the General Manager on Zoom, I was invited to meet Mark and Alex, we instantly connected! We all have the same passion supporting community-led provisions. The team at Brighouse are a very committed, passionate and a well-connected group. We have some very exciting projects coming up and the team at Medequip are very keen to be involved. A special mention must go to Martin Eastwood at the Huddersfield Giants Supporters Association for his connection that led to this exciting partnership. Everyone at the Trust is looking forward to working together."

If you would like to find out more about Huddersfield Giants Community Trust, visit: hgct.co.uk

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Medequip to Sponsor the Most Inclusive Sport of All

Medequip's Steve Smith with Tony Bowling of Farrar Bamforth

Medequip has announced that the company will serve as principal sponsor for Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation’s new Wheelchair Rugby League side, launched earlier this week. Medequip is proud to be involved with this emerging sport, which will form part of the Rugby League World Cup main event for the first time ever later this year.

Medequip’s work is all about supporting people to keep them independent, and partnering with what is billed as one of the most inclusive sports of all matches this philosophy perfectly; Wheelchair Rugby League encourages able-bodied people to compete too, and both men and women play in the same team.

Steve Smith, Medequip’s General Manager (North East Region), is clear about the benefits to both parties. “Wheelchair services are an integral part of many of our contracts, and this sponsorship provides a perfect fit in terms of our corporate social responsibility strategy,” he stated. “We’re also hoping we can become more involved in the sport with our user groups too.”

Following the successful launch of the Wheelchair Rugby League side last week, the Foundation is looking for ways to take our sides to the next level. Speaking upon signing of the deal, Head of Foundation, Craig Shepherd, said, “We are delighted to have finally put pen to paper and confirm Medequip as our Wheelchair RL side’s principal sponsor. They join us at a really exciting time for the Foundation - creating our wheelchair side in 2021 and joining forces with Medequip will help to progress the sport even further.”

To find out more about Medequip and the services they provide, head to https://www.medequip-uk.com/. To get involved in Trinity's Wheelchair RL side, please email anthonyrbaker18@gmail.com

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We're Celebrating Big Thank You Day!

At Medequip, it’s always been important to us to celebrate our people and their individual and team achievements, which is why we first introduced the Big Thank You Day some years ago. This annual event sees Medequip people nominated by their peers for the work they do, in recognition of their skills and abilities.

2020 was a very different year, and it is more important than ever to honour the people who have played a vital role in helping to keep our service users and our colleagues safe and protected. Normally, the Big Thank You Day is a celebratory event attended by all nominees. This year was a very different virtual event, but the focus remained the same; to recognise and celebrate individual and team achievements across the organisation.

The Revenue Enhancement Award went to Medequip’s Stafford depot for their outstanding delivery performance on the PPE distribution project. Runners up were the Rotherham depot for their sterling work on the new Sheffield contract, and Matthew Brown (Newton Aycliffe) for coordinating and planning resources for a major bed contract.

The SHEQ Star Award went to Atlanta Somers (Emersons Green) for her work in running the depot short term and helping to achieve an audit score of 97% - its best ever. Runner up was last year’s winner of this Award Glynn Davies, in recognition of his valuable work as a Centre of Excellence trainer, and supporting the Stability Restoration Project at Rotherham and Sheffield

The Customer & Client Recognition Award was won by Anna Hunt (Knaresborough) for her work building sustained relationships with Health & Social Care staff, leading to an improved service across the Recycled Specials range. Runners up were Emily Cauldwell (Alfreton) for leadership qualities, compassion, calmness under pressure and talents in problem solving and Aaron Theaker (Rotherham) for his contribution to the management of specialist respiratory equipment.

Manager of the Year Award went to Marc Varley, who has led the London team with calmness, dedication and determination throughout the COVID 19 pandemic. Runners up were Marie Martinalli for her work on the COVID 19 emergency planning group and third successive year achieving a sustained reduction in accident rates, with Luke Derrick recognised for his contribution at Emersons Green and Weston Super Mare, building up his teams and establishing excellent working relationships with contract managers.

The COVID 19 Emergency Planning Group won Best Team Award for their strong purpose, teamwork and clarity and speed of decision making to protect the business and our people. Runners up were Manage At Home for successfully delivering sales performance over 40% up on 2019, despite the challenges they faced, and BNSSG Emersons Green and Weston-super-Mare, for achievement at the depots in the face of the pandemic backdrop and a re-tendering exercise.

Winner of the Unsung Hero(es) Award were the Medequip Connect Responders for consistently turning out at all hours to support and keep our clients safe in these difficult times. Runners up were Natalia Moiseenkova (HR) for her work in helping to navigate managerial issues in terms of staffing, faced with all the challenges of the pandemic and staff absences, and Hizaar Hussain (IT) for his qualities of calm and helpfulness as well as the impact of his skill and experience on the business.

The Best Newcomer Award went to Michelle Montgomery (Medequip Connect) for her flexibility and positivity, working well with the team and sharing experience. Runners up were Mark Brady (Bromborough) for his ability to pick up all aspects of his role at a time of heightened activity and Anup Sachdeva (Head Office) for successfully forging new relationships, sharing information and implementing new projects.

The Cleaning Operative of the Year Award went to Tianna Hamner (Emersons Green) for helping the Emersons Green team to excel and also for her support on the Sheffield implementation in Sheffield Runners up were Tom Jenkins (Emersons Green), for being a hardworking, well respected, great all-rounder and Sam Bagnall (Stafford), a highly thought of team player.

Customer Services Advisor of the Year was awarded to Tracey Clarkson (Manage At Home) for setting the work ethic standard for 2020, supporting the team and keeping service levels high. Runners up were Emily Cauldwell (Alfreton) for her approachability and excellent communication skills and Laura Ousby (Leyland) for the successful move of her team to home working, taking on extra responsibilities whilst working to a newly implemented management structure

The Innovation Award was hotly contested by Michaela Harris for her work on the Blink staff engagement application, which now has 800 members of staff using the system, the Falls Prevention Team for continuing to deliver for older more vulnerable service users through telephone contact, Facebook and YouTube exercise videos, and the Head Office HR/Payroll team for the launch of the new payroll system, with the Falls Prevention Team taking the Award.

The Living Medequip Values Award went to Arijan Veladzic (Procurement) for keeping his promises, empowering people, embracing change and his passion for teamwork. Runners up were Jamie Welland (Heathrow) for his massive contribution this year managing PPE and also Josh Spence (Mandela Way) for his positivity, reliability, great work ethic and understanding of the systems.

Technician/Service Engineer of the Year Award nominations included Leon Mullings (Emerson Green) for his work to help others, Adrian Hunt (Woolwich) for his outstanding commitment and hard work, professionalism, patience and Gary Cork (Stafford) the service engineer known for solving problems for the technicians. The award went to Adrian Hunt.

Warehouse Operative of the Year was won by Kirsty Lambourne (Calne) for her work in making the warehouse at Calne the best it can be, leading from the front. Runners up were Ryan Munday (Heathrow) for his ‘can do’ attitude and knowledgeable approach, and Ryan Duxbury (Brighouse) for his supportive, helpful and efficient contributions.

The Employee of the Year Award went to Simon Cooke (Newton Aycliffe) who volunteered to be the first tech to complete a COVID job so he could feed back his experience to colleagues, and also volunteered for extra shifts to support high risk on call Techs. Runners up were Florin Vasile (Woodford Green), the first to volunteer to go over the threshold of a confirmed COVID address, who successfully coordinated the depot’s OOH COVID Response Team, and Lucy Rothmeisel (Medequip) for helping to integrate the OOH service into the ERC and her commitment to creating and adapting work systems.

Stafford was judged Best Fundraising Depot of the Year, with Yvonne Higgins (Bromborough) winning Individual Fundraiser of the Year.

Medequip Long Service Awards were then celebrated, naming a total of 16 colleagues who have been working in the business for more than 10 years, seven for more than 15 years and one for more than 20 years.

The Special Recognition Award went to the Customer Service Project Team consisting of Andrew Firth, Justyna Uminska, Marie Martinalli, Marc Varley, Peter Gaunt and Michaela Harris for the successful delivery of the project to have a regionalised and home-based CS function bringing substantial benefits to the business and a better work life balance for the staff.

The Chris Bull Award is a special Award given in memory of one of Medequip’s most valued colleagues following his premature loss to cancer, and is given to the team or individual who embodies all Chris’s best traits - hard work, commitment, honour, values and a certain colourfulness! This year the award goes to Medequip’s IT Mr Fixit Phil Lewis, who never gives up and always goes the extra mile.

The Business Development Award went to Richard McLean (Newton Aycliffe) in recognition of his leadership and delivery of the Medequip One Way project.

The MD’s Award for Special Achievement 2020 has been awarded to every frontline Medequip colleague involved in the delivery, installation and collection of equipment from service user homes with COVID 19 present and those cleaning and recycling that equipment, recognising their outstanding commitment in what was a difficult and challenging year.

An amazing 249 nominations in total! Congratulations to all our winners, our runners up and those who were nominated this year!

Date:

Working Together to Improve Health and Social Care For All

David Griffiths - Managing Director

The government has published a paper setting out legislative proposals for a Health and Care Bill. In his recent blog, Managing Director David Griffiths explains why Medequip wants so see a focus on behaviours, as well as policy and legislation.

As a family-owned business operating since 1998, Medequip has worked through many policy changes in health and social care. Over this period we have always worked in partnership with contracting authorities, the people who use our services and the many organisations working to support them. 

The most recent paper on the subject (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-improve-health-and-social-care-for-all) is hard to argue with. Who wouldn't support integration and innovation if it helps to improve health and care for all? 

But has this Government and the NHS learned the lessons of the previous NHS reorganisations? 

Is it simply a shuffling of responsibilities with only lip-service paid to the fundamental challenges facing our society and the behaviour change needed to address them? At Medequip we see those challenges every day. At Medequip we reflect on our behaviour every day. 

For example, does this policy and the impending legislation deal with the systemic issues that challenge true pooled budget arrangements? I know they are only one aspect of integration but we feel there is more that could be done.

Integrated Community Equipment Service budgets are a longstanding example of pooled budgets. The theory behind them is simple. It can be a fruitless exercise trying to work out whether it is the NHS budget or social care budget that should fund particular items of community equipment and even more complicated to establish which budget benefits in the long-term. So, much simpler to pool the budget, focus on outcomes and share the risks of an overspend. 

Even with these longstanding arrangements and history of partnership working, we are seeing increasing requests to separate out health and care spend. With years of underfunding the pressure had to come out somewhere. Budget pressures have damaged the trust between partners. 

We work with over 40 contracting authorities, countless public, private and voluntary sector providers and a whole warehouse full of different suppliers and manufacturers. Through this, we have learned one thing about true partnership working. It happens when people trust each other. When they take the time to understand each other's position, challenges and cultures. 

Then, and only then will we achieve more by working together than we do trying to address the challenges individually.

Without that trust, the system will grow layers and layers of bureaucracy, financial controls and governance. Not only between the partners, but between the organisations and the people we are here to serve and support. 

So, whilst commentators debate whether the policy does enough to address social care as the poor relation, the merits of "a duty to collaborate" and the technical challenge of having two parallel governance structures for Integrated Care Systems, we at Medequip would encourage policy makers to focus on supporting the behaviours that grow trust between organisations so that we can better earn the trust of the people we are here to serve. 

While that debate happens, we will continue to deliver, service and collect over 4 million items of equipment a year, to listen to and learn from the 1.3-million people we support each year, and work in partnership with those that trust us to provide public services on their behalf. 

If you would like to work in partnership with Medequip, why not contact me or one of my trusted team at david.griffiths@medequip-uk.com.

Date:

One Year On - Medequip's Royal Derby Hospital Retail Shop

RDH Shop

It's been over twelve months since we opened our first ever retail store in the Kings Treatment Centre at the Royal Derby Hospital. The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has impacted significantly on first year results, but despite this, the potential for this new step in our retail strategy has been evident.

The doors will reopen as soon as coronavirus regulations permit, with the shop stocking a portfolio of products including bathing and mobility aids, continence products and a specialist range for dementia support. One of the newest lines is a range of four wheeled walkers which have already proved popular with Medequip's online store, Manage At Home (www.manageathome.co.uk)

Pre-COVID, footfall was very encouraging from the early days. The Kings Treatment Centre is a busy hub for both clinics and A&E, and the shop saw brisk trade from patients attending for treatment and from visitors to the hospital. It also served as an informal assessment unit for occupational therapists, advising on products for individuals going home after hospital stays.

With restrictions on visitors and fewer people attending hospital, numbers are initially down on last year's peaks. But the store remains a popular attraction and a useful source of both products and advice for the people of Derby. "Our best-selling lines are proving to be a real mixture," says store manager Andrea Bickerton. "We're selling everything from wheelchairs and aids for daily living such as jar and bottle openers and sock aids through to waterproof bandages."

Andrea is a Trusted Assessor, accredited to carry out health and social care assessments in this field. She and her team can offer friendly and informed advice on a range of topics, so if people are looking to buy a more tailored product like a walker, she can adjust and measure to size to ensure the end product matches each individual's height and weight requirements.

The shop also offers customers access to AskSARA, the award-winning online self-help guide developed by the Disabled Living Foundation. AskSARA is particularly useful in identifying products to assist with independent living.

In addition, customers can access Medequip's Manage At Home website, discuss their requirements and have goods delivered directly to their own homes, opening up a range of additional products which can't be physically stocked in the shop itself. With a focus on safety, free walking aid checks can be carried out complete with free replacement ferrules where required.

Once the shop reopens, for a limited time Medequip will be offering a 10% discount on a range of products. Ask in store!

Date:

Standing Tall – How Medequip's Falls Prevention Team Has Kept In Touch

Wirral Falls Prevention

The coronavirus pandemic has presented particular challenges for our Medequip colleagues operating the successful Falls Prevention Service on the Wirral. This dedicated team of falls prevention practitioners has focused on remaining engaged with their client groups, investigating different ways to reach out and continue their vital services.

The small, multidisciplinary Medequip Falls Prevention team consists of physiotherapists, and occupational therapist, nurses and technical instructors. They place the emphasis firmly on education and training on how to stay healthy, active and safe, prioritising fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk. The team has successfully built and enhanced services and facilities for patients, contributing towards a notable reduction in falls and associated costs for Wirral NHS.

Promoting confidence and independent living

The team is led by manager Julie Griffiths. "We're acutely mindful of the negative effects that reduced activity and resultant deconditioning can have on strength, mobility, confidence and independent living for our older population," she said. "Faced with lockdown and the forced cessation of our face to face activities, we looked at how we could continue our work and keep both staff and clients -- many of whom were shielding because of the age or medical conditions - safe and protected."

Technology has provided some very effective solutions. During the first lockdown, Julie and her team put together some 'explainer videos' to demonstrate such things as how to safely get up from the floor, good 'sit to stand' techniques and back loosening exercises before getting out of bed. These are complemented by online exercise classes and falls prevention advice. "It's essential to provide simple start, low risk, easy to access programmes for the older population, aiming to build up stamina and move on to full exercise sessions," explained Julie.

Partnering with Age UK to improve access to technology

Access to online information is a practical issue for some, so the Falls Prevention Service has partnered with Age UK on a scheme to loan out tablets to those without easy access to the internet. In addition, the team has used the time effectively to create a new exercise booklet which has been distributed to clients and through Age UK as well as being made available in locations such as pharmacies. This initiative is prompting significant numbers of self referrals to the service.

When shielding ended officially in August, there was real enthusiasm amongst both staff and clients to resume more normal service. So the team donned their PPE aprons, face shields and gloves and visited clients at their homes to teach exercises programmes on a 1:1 basis again whilst maintaining social distancing rules. Later lockdowns have brought this activity to a halt but the service will resume again as soon as regulations allow.

Continuing to have a positive effect

The commitment shown by the team continues to yield positive results. Clients are reporting that they are feeling the benefits of engaging with the service. "We have maintained an outcome of 78% of clients reporting no further falls 6 weeks after an intervention with Wirral Falls Prevention Service," confirmed Julie.

She continues to have concerns about the future. "We are anticipating an increase in the numbers of deconditioned elderly patients who will be prone to falls after being confined to their homes for so long. Now we have all received our vaccinations, we are looking forward to resuming normal service soon and playing a part in keeping them active and safe," she stated.

Date:

Coronavirus, The Supply Chain and the Inevitable Costs for Business

Mike West

Mike West, Procurement Director for Medequip, discusses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on product availability, logistical challenges and the resultant commercial implications.

The entire world is currently weathering not just a global health crisis but an economic perfect storm impacting on the cost and availability of goods. Transport capacity constraints combined with raw material shortages and lead time issues are being felt keenly in every sector of the economy.

At Medequip, we have certainly not been immune to these commercial disruptions. The first wave of coronavirus in the early months of 2020 saw a massive increase in demand for hospital beds for the acute sector, in particular to equip the new Nightingale field hospitals. As a result, our allocations of beds and dynamic mattresses from suppliers were reduced significantly.

Addressing the shortages

We mobilised to address these shortages, using our contacts to bring in beds and mattresses from overseas to match the demands of our contracts across the UK. Transferring product from our network of UK depots to balance demand has helped to ensure security of supply. In addition, our focus on returning stock to shelf via our return, recycle and reuse campaigns has played an important role in securing our position. Faced with significant issues, we succeeded in stockpiling critical equipment to meet our commitments.

Working with our partners

We were able to use our established contacts to help our partners too, during the scramble for PPE in the early stages of the pandemic. As an example, at the request of the London Consortium we sourced 200,000 FFP2 face masks from Chinese suppliers and airfreighted these into the UK for distribution across the London boroughs. This initiative helped to keep OTs and other essential practitioners safe out in the field.

Making the commercial decision to take on an additional £2M of inventory cushioned Medequip from shortages of the staples such as beds, mattresses and hoists. As a result, we have been able to keep our partners supplied despite increases in demand caused in part by accelerations in hospital discharges.

The new challenges of the second wave

We took a deep breath over the summer and early autumn, but the second wave of coronavirus has brought with it a completely new set of commercial challenges. With all of the PPE ordered by government coming into the UK in containers and enormous global demand for imported materials coming from China, in November and December containers began to pile up in ports in UK and USA.

Massive increases in shipping costs

Resultant queues in congested ports have led to a massive imbalance of containers across the globe and therefore lack of availability. Shipping lines have taken advantage of this unprecedented situation. Early in 2020, shipping costs for a typical forty foot container from Shanghai to the UK would have been around £2,000. Now, we are paying at least six times that figure for the same shipment. This is impacting not just ourselves but the majority of UK manufacturing businesses, most of whom will use at least some components manufactured in China.

The situation is affecting lead times too. Previously, we could guarantee a five week lead time for imported goods. Now, despite shipping costs which have increased six fold, that lead time has extended to six to seven weeks, with ships operating a 'steaming slowly' policy and stopping at every port between Shanghai and Felixstowe.

The Brexit effect

And so to Brexit. Here, removal of the threat of tariffs achieved through the trade deal and a period of 12 months grace on regulatory and legal uncertainties mean that for Medequip, Brexit does not present such huge hurdles. The good news is that we are currently seeing only minimal disruptions in product availability from European suppliers and also minimal paperwork delays.

Date:

A Virtual Role for Medequip at ITEC 2021

Medequip Connect ITEC Stand

Medequip and its subsidiary company Medequip Connect will be participating in the International Technology Enabled Care virtual conference organised by TSA (TEC Services Association), which takes place from 22-25 March this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has put TEC firmly in the spotlight as a fast-developing sector of healthcare and instigator of change. This virtual conference is expected to provide a truly interactive experience to showcase the sector, complete with networking opportunities, live messaging and virtual demonstrations.

Digital solutions are already beginning to improve outcomes for service users. Medequip is excited to be involved at grass roots level, using our virtual stand to promote both Medequip community equipment services and the developing portfolio from Medequip Connect, our TEC arm providing alarm monitoring and support services.

The digital stand will provide visitors to the conference with access to corporate videos and a range of relevant downloads, including a Medequip Corporate Pack, a Services Directory and links to other services such as Falls Prevention and online retail facility Manage At Home.

The company will be using the conference networking hub to offer live telecare demonstrations, working with partners to show how the different systems work and how they can be used to help people to live independently for longer.

Medequip will also be conducting a short survey interviewing visitors to the stand to gather additional information on the changing requirements and challenges for TEC in today's healthcare market. All completed surveys will be entered into a prize draw to win an Amazon Echo Show 8.

We're looking forward to using this valuable digital space to share knowledge and experience about the growing potential for Technology Enabled Care.

Date:

Medequip Begins Electric Vehicle Trials in Rochester

Medequip Ford Transit Custom PHEV

It’s very quiet today at Medequip’s Rochester depot as the company’s first PHEV pulls silently out of the gates to begin a day’s work on the Medway CES contract in and around Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and the Hoo Peninsula.

This Ford Transit Custom is the first electric delivery van on the Medequip fleet, and all eyes are on how it performs as part of a trial which could signal a total change in how Medequip completes the delivery of community equipment across the UK.

Medequip is committed to using power from sustainable sources across its operations, so moving the fleet away from fossil fuels an important consideration. A significant number of vehicles on the car fleet are plug in hybrids, and many contracts already require Medequip to take on technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, so these trials have a vital role to play.

With so many UK cities and towns considering or already implementing Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) charges, it’s important that we plan for the future to ensure Medequip contributes to cleaner air targets, particularly for city use,” stated Peter Gaunt, Fleet Manager for Medequip. “We have been looking at both all electric and hybrid options, but from an operational point of view we need battery ranges to improve before all electric is truly viable for us. In the meantime, PHEVs offer a practical option for us to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiencies.

With many depots located in city centres and covering urban routes, this is a key operational issue for Medequip. The Ford Transit Custom PHEV selected by Medequip for the trials runs an advanced hybrid system featuring the multi-award winning Ford EcoBoost 1.0-litre petrol engine as a range extender.

The Medequip team will be monitoring performance closely to see how their PHEV fares over the next few months. If the trials prove satisfactory, then certainly in the near future PHEVS will be the way forward, with plans to move to all electric as battery technology continues to develop.

For further information, please contact fleetsupport@medequip-uk.com

Date:

Medequip Retains Wiltshire Community Equipment Contract

Wiltshire

Medequip are pleased to announce that they have been appointed to manage Community Equipment and Continence Services for Wiltshire for a further five years, following a competitive tender process. The award underlines our industry-leading record of contract retention, reflecting Medequip’s commitment to performance and value in this arena.

Medequip has partnered with Wiltshire for over 15 years. The new five year contract will begin on 1 April 2021, with an option to extend for up to two more years.

In preparation, we are planning significant innovations and service enhancements to further improve community equipment services provision for the people of Wiltshire. Our operational site will remain at Calne and will be totally redesigned and extended, implementing a new layout to facilitate increased capacity, throughput and efficiency.

In addition, working to give Wiltshire Commissioners greater levels of visibility and control over day to day operations, Medequip is investing in a new end to end software solution including Microsoft Business Intelligence management reporting to streamline the supply chain. This includes an improved mobile working platform designed to provide a more interactive, human face for Service Users in Wiltshire. The new system will also optimise the use of recycled special items, reducing cost and improving speed of delivery.

We are also putting investment into the continence offering, implementing automatic replenishment services to make the process easier and more straightforward for users, investing for an even more responsive and cost effective service.

We are absolutely delighted to continue our long term relationship with Wiltshire, stated Michaela Harris, General Manager for Medequip’s South Western division. The cooperation between our two organisations has been particularly well demonstrated when faced with the challenges of COVID-19, where we have engaged on a weekly basis to maintain service and product availability, including appropriate product substitutions to facilitate important hospital discharges.

In a statement, the Wiltshire Commissioners said, We wish to take this opportunity to thank Medequip for the key role they have played over the years, to provide the people of Wiltshire with equipment and support to improve their quality of life, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the new contract. Medequip’s commitment to deliver an efficient and effective service in the ever-challenging environment of health and social care has strengthened our partnerships to integrate care and better meet our populations’ health and care needs now and in the future.

Date:

At Work Together – Medequip Plays A Role In Birmingham's PURE Project

The PURE project (Placing vulnerable Urban Residents into Employment) is the brainchild of Birmingham City Council and a group of 8 providers including Midland Mencap, MIND, Birmingham & Solihull Women’s AID, BID Services, Trident Reach, Fry Accord, Rathbone and Swanswell. Part funded by the European Social Fund, PURE brings together a range of coordinated interventions designed to assist the needs of the most vulnerable citizens with barriers into the employment market.

EU Social Fund

Medequip was an obvious choice to provide placement opportunities for reintroduction to the workplace. The company has worked closely with Birmingham City Council for many years, providing community equipment services to the people of Birmingham. When Medequip’s Operations Manager for the West Midlands Jo Page first heard about the PURE project, she was convinced that the company’s Birmingham depot could play a role in providing important links back into employment.

“We work closely with our Commissioners, and because of the nature of our business, we are committed to opportunities that enable us to add social value,” stated Jo. “When our Commissioners put us in touch with PURE, we immediately identified ways we could be involved to support, mentor and guide individuals through to employment, education and training in line with the PURE objectives.”

The first step was to introduce PURE intervention workers to Medequip, and Jo devised an introductory presentation which was attended by potential participants along with their intervention workers. Here, the visitors had an opportunity to experience what Medequip does on a day to day basis, to identify how the company could support individuals and to ascertain which candidates could benefit from this kind of work experience. “Everyone who visited our Birmingham depot wanted to work with us, which was very gratifying,” said Jo.

The first intake began in September, involving three initial placements, one in Customer Services, one in Warehousing and one in Repairs. The candidates work two or three days a week, four to five hours a day, supported and mentored by Medequip staff. Alongside the work experience, they face additional challenges such as negotiating public transport, committing to on-time attendance and abiding by current rules including COVID-safe working procedures and PPE.

The participants have been really enjoying their work, and it has proved very rewarding for Medequip staff to see how their confidence has grown as they integrated into the team. “I would recommend the PURE project to other organisations too,” said Jo. “As a business, we are also benefiting from the process. I am extremely proud of how the staff have risen to the challenge, truly mentoring not mollycoddling, showing real patience and understanding.”

The PURE Project Manager, Tabriz Hussain, has been delighted with how this relationship with Medequip has formed “I couldn’t ask for a better employer than Medequip, they have given our participants a real opportunity that will improve their chances of securing employment in the near future”.

The sentiment is echoed by Rajwinder Singh, Intervention Worker for Midland Mencap. “What a brilliant organisation Medequip is! One of my client users, who hasn’t worked for over nine years, has taken to this project with so much enthusiasm. He has learning difficulties, and finds it hard to engage with people, but the interaction since working with Jo and her team has been fantastic.”

PURE intervention workers have been on call, but have not been needed so far. Participants will remain with Medequip for a minimum of three months, encouraged back into the world of work, and can stay on beyond that if they choose. They are proving a valued part of the team, and will be given formal references at the end of their placements, demonstrating their capabilities.

Medequip is now evaluating the potential for expanding the project into the nearby Stafford depot, looking at partners to continue the work begun with Birmingham City Council.

Date:

Medequip Connect Invests to Establish Industry-leading Digital Platform

Medequip Connect

Our telecare arm Medequip Connect is committed to the implementation of an innovative approach to the delivery of technology enabled care services, based around the use of advanced information and communications technologies.

As part of this strategy, the company continues to invest in the future of telecare by moving all its systems to a robust digital platform well in advance of proposed changes within the telecoms industry planned for 2025.

In the UK, it is estimated that 1.7 million vulnerable people depend on telecare services. Medequip Connect focuses on supporting individuals to live safely in their homes and communities, using the new digital platform to provide services that are faster, more reliable and feature-rich to enhance independence and quality of life.

Read the full article on the Medequip Connect website

Date:

Wirral Falls Prevention Service: 2020 Update

The manager of Medequip’s Wirral Falls Prevention service, Julie Griffiths provides an update on all of the work that has been done so far throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Wirral Falls Prevention Service has striven to remain engaged with our client group throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mindful of the negative effects that reduced activity and resultant deconditioning can have on strength, mobility, confidence and independent living for our older population.

In place of our ‘Positive Steps’ education sessions and assessment clinics, we have provided telephone assessments. We have also increased our activity on social media to provide online falls prevention advice, and we are developing online exercise sessions. These are designed to be a simple start to exercising and so are accessible to most of our older population with as little risk as possible. We have started by demonstrating individual exercises, making early videos posted very short, as, until stamina builds up, this might be all that an individual can manage. By following a video demonstrating a full exercise session, progress is then encouraged.

We have also put together some “explainer videos” to demonstrate things such as ‘how to safely get up from the floor’, ‘good sit to stand techniques’, ‘back loosening exercises before getting out of bed’ among others. We are new to producing media, editing videos, and using Facebook for Business (On our Facebook page, we have been posting all of our videos, making it available to the public for free). Although we have been learning to do it all from scratch, we have had the help of Tom and Chris from our Media/Marketing department.

When shielding and lockdown ended, group sessions were still not possible, but we had both staff and clients were keen to engage in exercise programmes. The team donned their PPE aprons, face shields and gloves and visited clients at their homes to teach exercises programmes on a 1:1 basis. We continue with regular telephone support once exercises are taught, and we are working with our Age UK colleagues to continue with that support. We are also looking to support access to our online information through Age UK, who are running an android tablet loan scheme. Our falls prevention information booklet is now being distributed by Age UK volunteers, which have generated some self-referrals into the service.

We have also linked our Facebook and YouTube videos with our local authority online information page and produced an article for a local newspaper to broaden awareness of what we offer.

Our efforts to meet the challenges of finding alternative ways to provide a service during this pandemic are showing a positive outcome:

  • From the beginning of August, we have engaged with over 120 older people in our home exercise programme.
  • Clients are reporting that they are feeling the benefits of engaging with our service.
  • We have maintained an outcome of 78% of clients reporting that they had no further falls, 6 weeks after an intervention with Wirral Falls Prevention Service.
Date:

Medequip Takes A Step Into The Virtual World At This Year's Disability Awareness Day

Medequip Virtual Stand

The pandemic might have put a halt to most exhibitions and events this year, but many are now turning to technology to engage audiences, staging virtual events designed to keep people informed. This is particularly crucial in the disability arena where so much has been postponed or cancelled.

Disability Awareness Day, usually staged live in Warrington, already enjoyed an established profile as a pan-disability event, promoting a ‘can do’ culture focused around what disabled people can achieve in life and in work. Now taking place as a virtual event, the 2020 Day is proving massively popular and is already fully booked for exhibitors.

Medequip is delighted to be participating on this exciting virtual platform. It’s our debut in terms of virtual events, with the team already hard at work to develop further outreach techniques to get the message across in a variety of virtual settings.

It’s all about interactivity. For this event, Medequip has focused on providing information, advice and guidance in an engaging and accessible manner. Just like a live event, visitors can attend our virtual stand, download live video links and get involved in live Q&A sessions.

Learn about Medequip Connect, our telecare services specialists now implementing an innovative approach to the delivery of technology enabled care services based around the use of advanced information and communications technologies.

Download a Manage At Home catalogue and access this comprehensive online platform specialising in home care products such as mobility aids and disability equipment, designed to promote independence at home and ease the challenges of daily living.

Take a closer look at the public awareness education programme delivered by Medequip Falls Prevention covering falls risk information, self-management and healthy living advice, and access our comprehensive booklet entitled ‘Taking Positive Steps’ advising older people on falls risks and how to prevent them.

On the day, Medequip staff will be manning the virtual stand, responding to questions and signposting self-help guides. With live video links, an interactive brochure stand and even a ‘table top’ with downloadable discount vouchers, it’s as good as being there!

Date:

Medequip Connect Release 'About Us' Video

Medequip's telecare offering, Medequip Connect have released an educational video explaining their service.

Hosted by Carol Clement, Operations Manager at Medequip Connect's Rawtenstall Headquarters, the video explores the variety of services on offer, as well as providing insight into the day-to day running of the company.

Date:

Medequip Assumes Responsibility for Community Equipment Services in Sheffield

Medequip ICELSS Depot

Following our announcement of the contract gain back in March, the Medequip team assumes responsibility for Integrated Community Equipment Loan Services in Sheffield (ICELSS) on behalf of Sheffield CCG and Sheffield City Council.

Although implementation has been slightly delayed due to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, we now take up the mantle from the incumbent provider British Red Cross, who have worked closely with our team to ensure a smooth transition of services. Our remit is to supply and maintain the equipment necessary to help people live independently in their own homes for longer.

This contract further extends our proven track record throughout West, North and South Yorkshire, working with North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire CCGs and Kirklees Council. We are also the lead provider for the Rotherham Equipment and Wheelchair Service (REWS) which is operated on behalf of Rotherham CCG and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

The ICELSS and Rotherham Equipment and Wheelchair Service will be run from Medequip’s established depot on Chesterton Road in Rotherham, benefiting from both operational efficiencies and economies of scale.

Medequip already works with prescribers in Sheffield Teaching hospitals, discharging and prescribing into the Rotherham area, so linking the two contracts geographically is expected to result in significant synergies, including a single point of prescription. The existing Sheffield CES team is transferring employment across to Medequip to help with a smooth transition and continued excellence of service, going forward.

Our Sheffield team will be working with commissioners and prescribing teams to ensure that there is also a local solution for assessments, in particular ‘specials’, which are pieces of equipment designed specifically to match an individual’s requirements. The new contract will operate on what is known as the TCES Community platform, enhancing efficiencies and improving services for the people of Sheffield.

Date:

Medequip Unveiled as Kit Sponsors for Durham Based Football Club for the 20/21 Season

Medequip Unveiled as Kit Sponsors for Durham Based Football Club

As part of our 'Giving Something Back' initiative, We are pleased to announce that we have sponsored the training kits for Chilton WMC FC for the upcoming season.

Chilton WMC FC is one of the longest-serving football teams in the local area, having been running since World War 2.

Over the years the club has remained a competitive force, particularly in the last 5 years, where the club have reached the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals in several County Cups, as well as securing promotion back into the Premier Division and winning the Local League Cup.

Tom Rogers, from Medequip's Marketing department, worked with the club to secure the sponsorship ahead of the 20/21 season. He believes that the community aspect of the club made them a perfect match for the company's ideals.

'The club approached us after seeing our vans around the area and in their pitch, they impressed immediately.

'It was the charitable aspect that sold it to us. we've been looking to offer this sort of opportunity to people in contract areas that want to give back to their local people, just as Medequip aim to do as a company, so when a club that acts as such a pillar of their community got in touch, we couldn't turn it down.'

Chilton's community values mean that each year, they actively look to give something back into the local area, taking part in pre-season football and cricket tournaments that raise funds for local charities. They also host 2 charity events every year, boasting attendances of up to 300 people each time.

The club's first event of the year has always been run to raise money for a chosen family in the local area who are going through a difficult time and are unable to seek help from anywhere else.

The funds raised in previous years have been used to fund Taxi's to hospital treatments, family trips and purchase expensive special equipment.

In 15 years of running the events, the club claims to raise between £1000-£3000 per year, in which all is donated back.

Good Luck for the new season, Chilton WMC FC!

Date:

Medequip to manage CES provision across Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and the Hoo Peninsula

Medway Council, which according to research released in February 2020 is one of the highest performing councils in the country for adult social care, has appointed Medequip to manage CES provision across the area covered by the council including Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and the Hoo Peninsula.

This is our third CES contract gain in 2020. As the UK’s leading CES provider, we now manage more than 40 contracts supplying a range of equipment from simple aids for daily living through to more complex pieces of equipment enabling people to receive appropriate care and remain safely in their home environment.

Medequip will also provide Medway Council with advanced equipment management and reporting facilities, using the new TCES Community platform and Microsoft BI reporting capabilities to ensure greater visibility of information and customised reports to match council requirements.

We are currently working with the existing provider to retain the existing depot premises, supporting minimal disruption to service delivery team members.

The Medequip team is proud to have been selected by Medway as their chosen partner for the supply of community equipment, stated Neil Harris, Medequip’s Implementation Manager for Medway. Working with the council, we plan to first evaluate existing service delivery systems, current community equipment and then, in partnership, begin training and implementation of new products and an enhanced IT solution. To support the implementation process and going forward into the future, Medequip will work closely with service users to develop service provision to best match their needs.

A recent survey by IMPOWER highlighted Medway as one of 15 councils achieving greater than average outcomes from a less than average spend per head. This research indicates that Medway residents using social care are receiving better outcomes, alongside the council making better use of public funds.

Date:

Medequip Supports Ongoing PPE Distribution in North Somerset

Medequip Supports Ongoing PPE Distribution in North Somerset

Our technicians at the Weston super Mare depot have been assisting the local council in delivering over 100,000 items of PPE to various health care providers and to care homes within North Somerset.

The PPE is collected from 4 warehouse locations around North Somerset and Bristol on a regular schedule and held in stock at the depot for local distribution to care providers specified by North Somerset Council.

To date we have made over 200 deliveries fulfilling the orders created via the local government website set up to access the service.

Date:

Medequip are now an approved supplier of goods and services on the YPO Care Technology DPS

YPO Care Technology DPS website

YPO’s Care Technology Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) was established to give YPO’s customers the ability to procure care-related technology easily and compliantly. Using the DPS, customers have greater choice, flexibility and access to innovation in Care Technology products and services, as well as improved access to this market.

Medequip Connect – our technology enabled care division are ideally placed to supply services procured through the YPO Care Technology DPS

Date:

Medway Council Selects Medequip For Community Equipment Services

Medway Council has appointed Community Equipment specialists Medequip to manage CES provision across the area covered by the council including Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and the Isle of Sheppey.

This is the third CES contract gain announced by Medequip in 2020, which means that the UK’s leading CES provider now manages more than 40 contracts supplying a range of equipment from simple aids for daily living through to more complex pieces of equipment enabling people to receive appropriate care and remain safely in their home environment.

Date:

Cefndy-Medequip Provide PPE Logistics Support in Gwent

Cefndy-Medequip Provide PPE Logistics Support in Gwent

The unique Community Equipment Service partnership in Gwent, operated by Medequip together with Cefndy Healthcare, was approached by the Gwent-Wide Integrated Community Equipment Service (GWICES) commissioning team to see if the partnership could support in the storage and distribution of vital PPE for the care sector in South Wales.

After an assessment visit from the British Army, who were assisting with setting up a reliable distribution service, the Cefndy-Medequip depot in Newport was contracted by GWICES to receive the PPE deliveries.

Cefndy-Medequip Provide PPE Logistics Support in Gwent 2

Sourced by the Welsh Government Supply Network, these were to be stored and distributed to five local hubs in Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen. From there it is supplied directly to social care service providers.

From a start over the Easter weekend, the Cefndy-Medequip partnership has now processed in excess of 200 pallets of PPE – quite literally millions of individual items. These have been sourced from overseas as well as in the UK, one of the latest high-profile deliveries being face visors supplied by the Royal Mint! Onward distribution of the PPE takes place daily to ensure the five supply hubs are stocked appropriately for demand.

Darren Morrish, Medequip Contract Manager at Newport commented; We are delighted and very proud to be part of the vital PPE supply chain in Gwent. We have added this service to our normal operations seamlessly, through the hard work, willing efforts and terrific engagement of the whole Cefndy-Medequip team.

Judith Addis, Cefndy Operations Manager at Newport seconds the comments made by Darren Morrish. Our storemen, supervisors, technicians and engineers have been really keen to help. We are receiving large deliveries that need to be offloaded, counted, split and delivered the same day. We are proud of the team for their willingness and enthusiasm to help front line workers.

Cefndy-Medequip is a joint service provided by Cefndy Healthcare and Medequip Assistive Technology Ltd.

Date:

Heathrow Depot Helps Feed Hillingdon Hospital Staff

It’s tough out there for everyone, but even though our Heathrow warehouse team has been working really hard to ensure Medequip people are supplied with PPE to keep all of us and our service users safe, they’re also making time to support front line staff at Hillingdon Hospital.

Warehouse Supervisor Jamie Welland is particularly aware of the challenges they face as his fiancée is a nurse at the hospital, working long hours to give the patients the care they need to overcome COVID-19. She told Jamie just how important the many food and drink donations from local businesses have been in keeping front line workers motivated, just by knowing how much people care.

So Jamie and his Heathrow colleagues decided to help too. They started fundraising, and Jamie got in contact with a team coordinating a food bank at Hillingdon Hospital serving key workers who have so little time and energy to shop and cater for themselves. Many workers are using the small donations for meal time and lunch time sustenance – a small thing but having food and drink at their disposal is very uplifting and very helpful to many of them.

Jamie is delighted to report a really positive response. As a result, he and the team were able to visit Costco and spend over £500 on food supplies to make an important contribution to the work already begun by the local community to keep our front line staff supplied with food and snacks.

It went further than that, too. The team has been able to donate £500 to the hospital charity dedicated to building better wards and improved facilities for patients and staff. Some £200 remaining went to another charity supplying hot meals for hospital staff.

It was a great feeling that night for all of us who had been involved that while we were sleeping, others were benefiting from what we had helped to set up, said Jamie. Special thanks to Claire Field, Jitesh Chapaneri and Hitesh Patel who helped on the day and were there from start to finish.

Date:

A Thank You to Medequip from Rotherham

With permission we are delighted to share a message of thanks we received from our Rotherham Equipment and Wheelchair Service commissioner Emma Royle.

Emma is the Senior Commissioning & Improvement Manager, Adult Services, NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group who we work closely with to manage and deliver our service for the community across Rotherham.

Emma messaged us to say:

I just wanted to personally thank you for everything that you are doing to keep things running smoothly in Rotherham. I’m sure you are all working ‘above and beyond’. So many changes have been implemented and every query has been responded to positively. As a commissioner, it is very reassuring to know that we are working with people who are so solution focused and prepared to do whatever it takes to help.
Could you please thank the Rotherham Medequip Team for all of their hard work and everything they are doing to help keep people safe and looked after at home.
When I go out and clap on a Thursday night – I do it for the Rotherham Medequip team too :)
Emma Royle – Commissioner – Rotherham Equipment & Wheelchair Service

Its great for our team to receive such fantastic feedback. Well done to all!

Date:

45 Beds Supplied to Queens Hospital – Burton-on-Trent

The Project Procurement Team at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust contacted Medequip at our Alfreton depot to see if we could help in supplying some urgently needed additional care beds and mattresses to increase capacity for the care of Coronavirus COVID-19 patients.

Working with some of our key suppliers, Accora UK, Lisclare and Apex Medical we were able to source beds to the specification required together with ‘high-risk’ mattresses to fulfil the request.

The equipment was delivered to our Alfreton depot then installed by our technicians last week.

Date:

Medequip Help Boost Bed Capacity in Durham and Darlington

Full PPE for Emergency Equipment Installation

Medequip as providers of the community equipment service in Durham and Darlington were asked to help with the supply of 100 extra beds to be distributed to several local hospitals in the Durham and Darlington area.

Our procurement team managed to source the beds from Germany and on Saturday 11 April they were delivered to a temporary distribution centre at the Skills and Employment Centre in Spennymoor.

Here a team of 9 technicians assembled all 100 beds ready for roll-on roll-off distribution to the hospital locations they will be needed and used in. This was a fantastic effort over the Easter weekend by our team to support the local NHS services in County Durham.

The team were; Matt Brown, Michael Roberts, Andy Miller, Anthony Shaw, Simon Cooke, Benda Firth, Simon Haithwaite, Gary Thompson and Paul Scott. Well done all!

Date:

Full PPE for Emergency Equipment Installation

Full PPE for Emergency Equipment Installation

On Tuesday 14 April we undertook an urgent equipment delivery for a service user with Coronavirus COVID-19. We installed a four section profiling bed, and an alternating air mattress. Both members of the household were CV19 positive.

A two-person team – – lead by Leeanne Alexander, Regional Operations Manager for the South West and accompanied by Richard Evans from our Weston-super-Mare depot donned full PPE in line with Medequip’s policy for such cases and ensured the job went smoothly.

Whilst just part of ‘delivering our community equipment service’ – this activity was kindly recognised by the occupational therapist from Wiltshire Council Social Care who placed the order on behalf of her patient:

I just wanted to pass on my thanks and praise to Leanne and Richard today. The situation was handled calmly and not pressured which helped to make the transition go smoothly which was definitely required to enhance safety for the customer.
Great teamwork, thanks again

– Occupational Therapist, Wiltshire Council Social Care
Date:

Easter at Medequip

We have continued to support NHS discharges over the Bank Holiday weekend. All our 20 depots had teams on-call to ensure we fulfilled every request to support NHS Hospital discharges and any urgent service callouts.

834 jobs were completed, 71 of which were to homes of patients with COVID-19. Our infection control and enhanced PPE issued to our technicians ensured that the safety of all was paramount and the service fulfilled as normal.

Date:

Medequip Support the Set-up of COVID-19 Care Centres in Greenwich

Across the country, alongside our key workers on the front line, many companies are fighting to make sure vital deliveries are carried out and installations completed to help reduce the load on hospitals and critical care facilities. At Medequip, we’re very proud of our teams who are handling an increased workload to ensure vulnerable people continue to get the support they need and to help with hospital discharges.

When Gallions View Care home in Greenwich was being set up as a specialist facility for COVID-19 patients to ease the burden on the local hospital and other care facilities, the local Medequip team based at Woolwich was requested to attend on site to set up and install a range of equipment across 30 rooms. Paul Cockburn, Medequip’s Centre of Excellence trainer, proposed a novel solution.

With 10 trainees on my cohort at our training centre in Woolwich, it seemed like an excellent idea to put their studies and knowledge to good use in support of our team on the ground, said Paul. Following discussions and planning with our local operational team, it was decided to mobilise our newest technicians to complete the work.

The equipment was delivered in to the care home, some of it directly from suppliers and some from Medequip’s Woolwich depot. At 9 o’clock on 7 April, the team of trainees began work; no special PPE was needed as the facility was empty, awaiting its first patients. By lunchtime they had successfully installed a total of 30 Accora floor beds (low level profiling beds) and mattresses, commodes, overbed tables and high back chairs as well as two mobile hoists and two floor standing hoists and the rooms were ready to admit their first inpatients.

Following the success of this initiative, the team of trainees has been in action again, this time at Time Court in Charlton, a care unit with COVID-19 patients already on the wards. Here, Medequip took extra care with government-approved PPE, maintaining strict distancing from patients and staff. Within one and a half hours four beds had been installed complete with siderails, mattresses and two hoists, all ready for use with minimal disruption to the work on the unit. A spokesperson from the unit commented: Medequip arrived in force to deliver the beds. Very professional, like a military operation; they were briefed outside and came in two by two, directed to the individual rooms, all went like clockwork.

Thanks and congratulations to our newest technicians, including Bradley Floyd from our Woolwich depot, Carl St George, Luke Morgan, Anton Welch, Kary Richards and Chris Garrett from our Mandela depot, Nick Treadwell from our Heathrow depot and Ovidiu Cerbu and Alexandru Buccur from our Woodford Green depot. Special thanks too go to Gary Yandle, Graham Spencer and Darren Ransom from our Woolwich Operations Team for their expert guidance, as well as Jokaf Yesu and Richmond who provided vital on-site support.

This is a great example of the Medequip team at its very best, working together for the good of our service users, using ingenuity and expertise to make sure we can match the new challenges we are currently facing on a daily basis, stated Managing Director David Griffiths.

Date:

Medequip Awarded Community Equipment Services Contract for Sheffield

Medequip Awarded Community Equipment Services Contract for Sheffield

Medequip has won a competitive tender to manage Integrated Community Equipment Loan Services provision in Sheffield on behalf of Sheffield CCG and Sheffield City Council. This will be for a five-year period with effect from 1st July 2020, with an option to extend beyond 2025 for a further two years.

We now operate over 40 CES contracts across the UK and have a proven track record throughout West, North and South Yorkshire, working with North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire CCG’s and Kirklees Council. We are the lead provider for the Rotherham Equipment and Wheelchair Service (REWS) which is operated on behalf of Rotherham CCG and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. The Sheffield Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service and Rotherham Equipment and Wheelchair Service will be run from our established depot on Chesterton Road in Rotherham, benefiting from both operational efficiencies and economies of scale.

Medequip already works with prescribers in Sheffield Teaching hospitals, discharging and prescribing into the Rotherham area, so linking the two contracts geographically will result in significant synergies including the single point of prescription. In addition, both contracts will operate on the TCES Community platform, enhancing efficiencies and improving services to the people of Sheffield, further complemented by the skills and experience of our existing Medequip team. We will be working with commissioners and prescribing teams to ensure that there is also a local solution for assessments, in particular specials.

Head of Commissioning at Sheffield City Council, Joe Horobin, said: An important factor in obtaining new provider services is that our customers continue to receive the best quality service to best meet their needs. We welcome Medequip as our new provider and look forward to working with them in future.

At Medequip, we enjoy an excellent reputation for smooth contract implementation, and our team is already in place working towards the 1 July ‘go live’ date, headed up by Ben Williams who was responsible for contract implementation in Rotherham. We look forward to welcoming the existing Sheffield CES team, who will transfer their employment across to Medequip to help with a smooth transition and continued excellence of service, going forward, he stated.

Date:

Leading Outsourcing CES Providers Working Together to Support NHS and Local Authorities

Leading Outsourcing CES Providers Working Together to Support NHS and Local Authorities

We are facing an unprecedented public health crisis, where only cooperation, understanding and resourcefulness will help to maintain our vital services. Following detailed discussions Medequip Assistive Technology, NRS Healthcare, Millbrook Healthcare, Ross Care and the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) have agreed to work closely together to maximise continuity for local authorities and the NHS throughout the current Covid-19 crisis.

Optimising, planning and sharing information to ensure these organisations are able to provide maximum support for their services, senior directors from each business are now holding weekly conference calls to discuss key areas such as activity levels, geographical pressures and availability of qualified staff.

These levels of inter-company cooperation are designed to ensure best practice to maximise service user and employee protection, and will deal with the management of key equipment and PPE availability as well as specific area service continuity responses.

They are also extending to best practice utilisation of staff from other providers within geographic regions, such as individuals who have been furloughed and kept on payroll, and also potentially providing assistance to vulnerable groups with food and medicine distribution. This work is further enhanced by engagement with specialist teams set up by the NHS and local authorities across the country.

Working closely together, the five organisations are totally committed to ensuring safe continuity of service provision for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

These are extremely challenging times, and the Medequip team is honoured to partner with the BHTA and other major providers in our industry to ensure a coordinated and dependable response for everyone who needs our services, stated David Griffiths, Medequip’s Managing Director.

Date:

COVID-19: Medequip Corporate Statement

Medequip Assistive Technology is a responsible organisation with a clear commitment to employee safety, and is following guidance from the World Health Organisation, the NHS and other informed government bodies to mitigate risk during the current public health crisis.

During these challenging times, measures to ensure the protection of our employees and their families, our service users and our visitors are at the heart of everything we do.

Our dedicated COVID-19 Coordination Group has met daily since the beginning of March, bringing together the expertise and commitment of our Directors and Senior Managers.

This group focuses on effective business continuity planning, including liaison with suppliers to maintain the supply of medical equipment into our warehouses, enhanced infection control prevention measures and detailed operational planning designed to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our teams and our service users across the country.

We continue to adopt a measured and informed approach to ensuring the safety of all who work with and come into contact with our organisation as we go about our daily business, providing equipment and support to the more vulnerable members of our society.

Date:

Medequip Retains Flagship Birmingham Community Equipment Services Contract

Medequip Retains Flagship Birmingham Community Equipment Services Contract

Following a successful tender process, Medequip has retained the CES contract for Birmingham City Council and will continue to provide a comprehensive range of equipment and support to the people of Birmingham, investing in both systems and skills to further enhance services and provide cost and performance benefits.

This is a significant contract for Medequip, which we have now managed for over seven years. It covers a full range of community equipment, including both children’s and adults’ specialist items, and has been extended to provide services seven days a week, ensuring a faster service for individuals and helping to expedite hospital discharges.

Under the terms of the new contract, Medequip will also provide maintenance services for specialist equipment, which was previously contracted out to manufacturers. We are currently training dedicated service engineers to manage this aspect of the contract, which is expected to enhance speed and efficiency, improving the service for clients and saving money for Birmingham City Council.

Medequip is also incorporating significant IT developments over the new contract term, using the new TCES Community solution which provides total healthcare provision management for community equipment. Alongside this, we are upgrading our reporting platform to Microsoft BI, providing improved visibility of information and business intelligence, enabling our partners at Birmingham City Council to create an extensive range of reports to match their own specific requirements.

Medequip has enjoyed a close partnership and effective working relationship with Birmingham City Council for many years now, stated Peter Gaunt, Operations & Commercial Controller North. “Winning this contract for a further term underlines the added value provided by our experienced team, which has continued to yield significant cost and service benefits.”

Renewing our CES contract with Medequip has given us a valuable opportunity to reassess our requirements into the future and to build new channels of communication designed to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and further improve services for residents in our city, stated Councillor Paulette Hamilton, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care for Birmingham City Council.

Alongside the service improvements, Medequip is in the process of replacing the fleet operating across Birmingham with the latest Euro 6.3 compliant vehicles, and is also looking at incorporating hybrid vehicles for city centre use to minimise emissions.

Date:

Medequip Connect: Customer Testimonial

One very pleased customer has written to our telecare offering to share her testimonial to the Medequip Connect service:

My husband recently had a nasty fall in the shower, so it was urgent to obtain a pendant that would not only give assistance whilst in the home but also when away from the safe environment.

After responding to one or two advertisements, these promised to send information, which did not arrive for a week or more, they also raised more questions than answers, I, thankfully, was pointed towards Medequip Connect, I was ASKED what I required for my husbands safety, and after that the necessary boxes were satisfactorily ticked, including GPS to cover any mishap away from and including the home, together with the fact the pendant becomes a mobile phone should the worse occur.

Upon pressing both sides of the pendant the location is picked up and an actual person speaks to and advises that help is at hand. What more could you wish for.

This has given us both a great deal of reassurance, which means I can go to the shops, hairdresser etc without the constant worry of whether my husband is safe.. All this happened in four days from start to the receipt of the pendant. That is service.

- Mrs M
Date:

Daily Living Aids: Purchasing Independence

Daily Living Aids - Purchasing Independence

Social Media and Content Marketing Specialist for Manage At Home and Medequip, Tom Rogers explores how self-funding of Daily Living Aids (DLAs) is proving vital for independent living and whether it could help towards reducing the current strain on the NHS.

Throughout last December's General Election, the future and current state of the NHS became an ever-present in party politics and media reporting, throwing doubt in the minds of the electorate, many of whom rely on the 71-year-old British service.

Local Authorities: Stretching the budget

With financial strains limiting Health and Social care and diminishing budgets for local councils, self-funding of equipment and daily living aids offers an option to not only guarantee ownership of what you require but provides you with a wider range of products than what would be available to you via Community Equipment Loan Service catalogues.

In a report published by the House of Commons, the Health and Social Care Committee stated that services are struggling to keep up with balancing finances and need. 'The combination of rising demand and cost in the face of reductions in funding has placed the social care system under unsustainable strain' (Long-term funding of adult social care, 2019). This indicates that without either major investment in the sector or an alternative option is adopted by the masses (like self-funding equipment), the social care system could be derailed.

Often in Community Equipment Service contracts, there are specifications involved that require the contract holder to have a retail offering, that gives constituents the option of self-funding. An example of this would be Medequip's retail website being Manage At Home.

This is vital, as it means that it relieves pressure on the budget of local council/Care Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and puts the power of decision into the service user's hand, offering thousands of alternatives to what can be a relatively limited equipment catalogue approved by commissioners.

From his 2019 opinion piece 'The NHS long-term plan will fail unless social care is properly funded too', Niall Dickson, chief executive at the NHS Confederation stated that national services could suffer without a stable line of credit to rely on. '(Public health and social care services) have been decimated in recent years and this has not only left hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people with unmet needs, but it has also ramped up the pressure on GP surgeries, A&E departments and other NHS services.' (Dickson, 2019)

In their 2019 article 'Choosing and buying equipment', Which? echo Dickson's points by highlighting the need for self-funding websites, stating that the prevalence of need for disability aids are opening the doors of opportunity in the social care sector. '...with an ageing population and cash strapped local authorities, other options have become necessary.'(Which?, 2019)

Budgetary responsibility and the government: Levelling the debt

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson promised more NHS funding in his election campaign. However, reports from other parties challenged Johnson's pledge with claims that the NHS would be 'on the table' in future UK-US trade agreements.

In an attempt to reduce the deficit, the Conservative Party cut funding to several services, including social care, following reported mass over-spending from the previous incumbents, as well as the banking collapse of 2008. In the 2015 independent report from The King's Fund, titled 'How Serious Are The Pressures In Social care?', they outline the decline of funding in a country who's needs are rising rapidly. '(The government) has failed to protect adult social care from unprecedented cuts in spending, and the number of people getting publicly funded social care has fallen by a quarter despite growing demographic need' (The King's Fund, 2015).

An inconvenient truth: The importance of self-funding

With the prevalence of need for disabilities and the age of the UK population both increasing, it is becoming harder year on year to sustainably fund care services without self-funding becoming a more viable option for all, which is the only proven way to alleviate pressure on budgetary restrictions.

However, an injection of money invested into the NHS is necessary to start the process of promoting self-funding options, as advice and guidance when purchasing products need to be readily available for people to find products to properly suit their needs.

Useful Resources

Manage At Home Website

AskSARA Self Help Guide

Bibliography

Long-term funding of adult social care. (2019). [ebook] authority of the House of Commons. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/768/768.pdf

Which?. (2019). Choosing and buying equipment - Which?. [online] Available at: https://www.which.co.uk/later-life-care/home-care/how-to-buy-mobility-and-living-aids/choosing-and-buying-equipment-a3d7h0d4lws9

Dickson, N. (2019). The NHS long-term plan will fail unless social care is properly funded too. [online] Nhsconfed.org. Available at: https://www.nhsconfed.org/blog/2019/01/the-nhs-long-term-plan-will-fail-unless-social-care-is-properly-funded-too

The King's Fund. (2015). How serious are the pressures in social care?. [online] Available at: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/verdict/how-serious-are-pressures-social-care

Date:

Amnesty Planned in York for Community Equipment Recycling Campaign

We are launching a new initiative to encourage further equipment recycling in North Yorkshire.

As the provider of community equipment in York and North Yorkshire, we're rolling out our mobile exhibition unit – and appealing for people to return any unwanted crutches, walking frames or chair raisers.

Providing equipment on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the county, we want to take equipment that’s become surplus to requirements and introduce it back into circulation

Medequip’s North East Region General Manager, Steve Smith, said: “We aim to help the NHS save money every year by encouraging the return of equipment such as crutches, walking sticks, bathroom aids - in short, all sorts of equipment provided free of charge to help people after accidents or to keep older people independent for longer.

“We are working with county council and CCG colleagues to try to bring more of this much needed equipment back into circulation. Most items only need a clean and a check over to be reissued to someone else in need of support.

On 19 March, Medequip's events and promotions team will park the mobile exhibition unit at York Hospital – outside the front entrance, next to the multi-storey car park. They will take community equipment and after a thorough deep clean, will make sure it gets back into circulation. Alex and Joe will be on site from 10am to 3pm.

It’s the latest in a recent community equipment “amnesty” launched by Medequip and commissioners and is part of a wider Return, Recycle, Reuse campaign in North Yorkshire.

Dr Charles Parker, the Clinical Chair Designate for North Yorkshire CCGs, said: “It’s a fact that most people don’t intend to keep hold of this equipment. In many cases, they’re simply not aware of how to return it. Maybe they’ve mislaid the details, or maybe they have all good intentions to do so and the time has just slipped by.

“If you’ve got items languishing in your garage, cupboard, shed or attic, here’s your chance to do your bit for the NHS and local council.”

There are other ways people can return equipment that’s on loan from Medequip and no longer needed.

There are Medequip drop-off points at Dunslow Court, Eastfield near Scarborough and Manse Lane in Knaresborough and amnesty bins at The Archways in York and York District Hospital, the OT department at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and Yorwaste’s household waste recycling centre at Pennypot Lane in Harrogate.

Medequip will also pick up some items for free – call 01423 226240 or email north.yorks@medequip-uk.com

Date:

Medequip Features in Local Media Following Announcement for New Amnesty Bin

North Yorkshire based news outlet, The Northern Echo have noted the efforts being made to reclaim no longer needed Medequip & NHS equipment, following the announcement of a new amnesty bin placed in Harrogate.

The new bin at the Yorwaste/ NYCC Penny Pot Lane Recycling Centre is Medequip's fourth in the North Yorkshire region, with others placed in Northallerton and York. Medequip Amnesty bins offer service users the option to deposit their equipment in order for it to recycled as part of the company's Return Recycle Reuse initiative.

Read the full article here:

Campaign to Cut Back on Lost NHS Equipment (The Northern Echo)

Read the original press release here:

New Community Equipment 'Amnesty Bin' (Scarborough & Rydale CCG)

Amnesty Bin Locations:

  • The Archways, Rehab Centre, Belgrave St, York YO31 8YZ
  • Friarage Hospital (OT Department) Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 1JG
  • York District Hospital, Wigginton Rd, York YO31 8HE
  • Yorwaste / NYCC household recycling centre, Penny Pot Lane, Harrogate, HG3 2SN.
Date:

Medequip Awarded Sensory Equipment Contract

We've expanded our scope of work for Derbyshire Council with the addition of a new contract covering the supply of equipment provided to enhance quality of life for people living with hearing and vision impairment or loss. The contract runs for two years and includes installation and maintenance services.

Medequip has managed community equipment services for Derbyshire Council for over 15 years. This new sensory equipment contract was awarded following a competitive tender process, and will run for one year with an option to extend.

Sensory equipment provided by Medequip under the scope of this contract is comprehensive and varied, including personal listening aids, Megaloop listening systems, alarm clocks, talking watches, phone triggers and doorbell alerts as well as talking kitchen equipment such as scales and measuring devices. Equipment developed to assist those with visual impairment has been selected on recommendation by organisations including the RNIB.

Commenting for Medequip, Steve Smith, General Manager North East stated, Supply of sensory equipment is a service which sits well with our community equipment facilities. Additional training for our staff ensures that we can provide a tailored facility matching the special requirements of users with vision and hearing impairment.

Date:

Medequip Opens First Shop in Acute Retail Environment

Medequip Opens First Shop in Acute Retail Environment

We’re starting the year with a boost for our 2020 growth and diversification strategy, opening Medequip’s first ever retail shop located in the Kings Treatment Centre at the Royal Derby Hospital. Our new hospital retail outlet will stock a portfolio of products including bathing and mobility aids, continence products and a specialist range for dementia support, and we will work closely with our health and social care partners to determine the complete stock range over the coming weeks.

Historically, our retail operations have been sited at depots nationwide and selected ILCs, with additional equipment displays at hospital discharge centres. We have operated CES contracts for Derby City and Derbyshire for some years, and work closely with CCGs and social care partners to promote independent living, providing advice and product demonstrations supported by a mobile exhibitions unit.

Following a detailed feasibility study, we made the decision to invest in the new retail unit which is open from 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday (these times may change to meet demand), staffed by trained assessors capable of providing qualified advice on equipment and its correct use as well as on-site access to self-help guide AskSara.

With a focus on safety, free walking aid checks will also be carried out complete with free replacement ferrules where required. The space will also be used as an informal assessment unit by OTs, who have been consulted to give feedback on the potential product requirements of individuals going home after hospital visits.

The Royal Derby Hospital has been looking to provide on-site access to these products for some time, confirmed Matt Ward, Head of Retail and Marketing for Medequip. The objective is to open up an extended choice for people which goes beyond the standard equipment provided by the NHS or the local authority, giving easy access to a range of safe and practical products not currently available on prescription, as well as advice on their correct use.

All Medequip retail facilities operate in compliance with the BHTA Code of Conduct, with products sourced from reputable suppliers and access to VAT exemptions where relevant and applicable. In addition, our new retail operation has been structured around reduced environmental impact, with no paper receipts and only fully recyclable bags on offer.

Medequip’s primary retail offering continues to be the company’s e-commerce website Manage At Home www.manageathome.co.uk. We are now looking carefully at how this new retail venture may be expanded into other geographical areas, with directors and the senior management team seeking to invest appropriately in all aspects of the retail business as part of our ongoing strategy for growth and development.

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Medequip Fundraising For Alzheimer's Society Tops £40K Marker

Medequip staff raising money for Alzheimer's Society

When we first adopted the Alzheimer’s Society as our chosen charity, we had no idea of the scale and scope of the adventures Medequip people would be willing to undertake to raise money for the UK’s leading dementia research and support charity!

With the association between our two organisations now in its third year and fundraising totals well over £40K, it’s a credit to our business and to our intrepid staff to review the sort of activities which have helped Medequip reach this total.

Fundraising began with a leap into the unknown – quite literally- when Medequip staff abseiled off the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a 114.5m high sculpture and observation tower in London’s Olympic Park. They all reached the ground safely, if a little shaken and stirred!

We’re an active crowd at Medequip. Since then, challenges have included cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats and other expeditions on two wheels, sky diving, a Tough Mudder and a number of half marathons, a Three Peaks expedition and the Great South Run.

John O'Groats

A fundraising sporting lunch woke up the sports challenges, with an active five a side football team now going great guns in their league and a 72 hole golf competition bringing out staff and customers for a great day golfing and fundraising.

There’s been massive support from Medequip’s network of depots across the country too, with individuals organising events like cupcake days, tuck shops, sweepstakes and car boot sales, amongst other initiatives. Our Promotions Team has kept the theme alive at events across the country, requesting donations for giveaways.

Joe Swan at the Alzheimer’s Society underlines the importance of corporate fundraising to the Society.” We are hugely grateful for all of the support given to us by Medequip. Just as an example, £40,000 could pay for 528 people to attend our Singing for the Brain group over the course of a year. Thank you, Medequip!”

Supporting the Alzheimer’s Society has also had far reaching effects within the organization. To date, Medequip has trained 250 staff as Dementia Friends, and also fields one Dementia Friends champion qualified to deliver training to others.

Medequip Cakes

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Medequip's Winning Ways – Awards Arriving Thick And Fast!

It’s been an award-winning time for Medequip! On 23 October, our Manage At Home team was delighted to be recognised for the ‘Best Online Initiative’ at the Access & Mobility Professional Awards. This trophy hadn’t even made its way home when we won a further three accolades at the Building Better Healthcare Awards on 30 October.

The AMP award recognised the work carried out by our online mobility equipment retail arm in completely overhauling its online platform, successfully making the website quicker, easier and more rewarding for users. In particular, the award recognised that this work has made product identification “…fast, easy and accurate, with features designed specifically to help users navigate and browse products matching their needs.” Congratulations to Matt Ward and his team in Brighouse!

We had put forward two entries for the prestigious Building Better Healthcare Awards, announced on 30 October, and were very pleased to win in both categories. Our colleagues at the Falls Prevention Service on the Wirral were recognised for their ongoing achievements in the ‘Best Patient Safety Initiative’ category.

This new award reflects the current drive to improve patient safety across health and social care settings. Back in July 2015, the Falls Prevention Service was included in the Wirral Independence Service contract and the commission was awarded to Medequip – the first time a falls prevention service has ever been outsourced in the UK. This very small team of multidisciplinary team physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and technical instructors has successfully developed a clear referral pathway, building and enhancing services and facilities for patients to contribute towards a notable reduction in falls and associated costs for Wirral NHS.

We also won the Best Recycle or Reuse Project Award for our innovative Return, Reuse, Recycle campaign, originally developed in partnership with West Suffolk NHS back in 2017. The initial campaign resulted in over 38,000 NHS and social care items being returned over a defined five month period, with an estimated value of more than £3.5m. The campaign has now been rolled out across the Medequip estate.

Alongside these two Awards, we were proud to be one of three companies to win a Patient’s Choice Award, together with West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for the Return, Reuse, Recycle campaign. This special Award cannot be applied for; it is given to the entry (across all categories) that the Building Better Healthcare patient representative deems has the biggest impact on the patient experience and outcomes.

The event itself was attended by many prestigious companies in the sector and also numerous CCGs. Medequip was represented by Mike West (Procurement Director) and Sam Holliman (Head of Procurement), who were called upon to make frequent trips to the stage to collect the awards!

Congratulations to all who have worked so hard to make our services award winning!

Date:

Medequip Features In The Sunday Times Top Track 250 2019

For the third year running, Medequip features in The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table, published on 6 October 2019.

For the third year running, Medequip features in The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table, published on 6 October 2019.

Medequip ranks a very respectable 177th– the highest placing so far - alongside august company including Holland & Barrett, Travelodge and Barchester Healthcare at the top of the league table, and other household names like the RAC, Virgin Active, Chelsea Football Club, Barbour Clothing and Dr Martens footwear.

This league table ranks Britain’s private mid-market growth companies by sales, and has now been published for 15 consecutive years. It enjoys main sponsorship from Lloyds BankIng Group, and is the sister publication to Top Track 100; this identifies Britain’s 100 private companies with the biggest sales.

Top Track 250 lists the next largest private companies, and identifies companies qualifying for entry where sales or operating profit growth meet the 5% criteria and operating profit margins exceed 2%.

To quote Top Track 250: “This year’s league table identifies many mid-market growth companies that have expanded by managing risk and choosing the right strategic options, as well as companies that make a clear contribution to the communities in which they are based.”

Commenting for Medequip, Matt Ward, Head of Retail & Marketing stated, “We are proud to be achieving these significant commercial goals alongside continuing to provide quality and value for money for the many people who use our services across the UK.”

See the full table here

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A Changing Demographic: Daily Living Aids

A changing demographic

Written by Medequip & Manage At Home's Tom Rogers to be published on Independent Living. The micro-essay below is the original, unedited version. Read the article on the Independent Living website.

As the Social Media and Content Marketing Specialist for Manage At Home and Medequip, I am constantly looking at different ways to raise awareness and understanding of the companies I represent online. Through social media, the public makes comments and presumptions regarding the target audience of both companies. Especially for our retail outlet, Manage At Home, people feel that we only cater to the elderly. This is not true.

In this micro-essay, I aim to set out an argument for Daily living Aids and services provided by companies such as Manage At Home being in universal demand, and dispel the myth that these products and services are only for people 65 and over.

An ageing population

As stated in 'Overview of the UK population: July 2017' released by the Office for National Statistics, people in Britain are living longer than ever before, with 18% of the population over 65 and 2.4% aged 85 and above in 2016. This means that there is a much higher demand than ever before for Daily Living Aids and products to help keep over 65's independent for longer.

However, the 'Health Survey for England 2017' reported that 23% of men and 28% of women aged over 65 reported the need for help in at least one Activity of Daily Living (ADL). When compared to the 2011 edition of the same survey, it shows a significant decline in need, as it stated that 27% of men and 36% of women declared the need for aid with one or more ADL.

Considering both reports, it could be argued that although the age of the UK population is rising, people 65 and over are reporting less need for assistive care. This could suggest two possibilities: People are choosing to remain independent of care and are starting to rely less on Daily Living Aids, or the choice to not state a need for care could lead to more demand for buying Daily Living Aids independently from Manage At Home or similar companies.

Working-age adults & funded social care: A divide

In the 'Welfare Trends Report: January 2019' released by the Office of Budget Responsibility, it was reported that between 2004/5 and 2016/17 disability prevalence & prevalence of disability benefit receipts in the UK has risen by 36% and 31% respectively for working-age adults. However, these changes could be due to several reasons including recent alterations in the perception of disabilities. An example of this is the notable increase in awareness of mental health conditions.

The 'Social Care 360' report states; 'Publicly funded social care is available only to people with high enough needs' and argues that because of financial thresholds remaining unchanged 'fewer people will be eligible for local authority support and may not approach local authorities at all but instead purchase care directly.' (Simon Bottery et al, 2019).

This suggests that with the increase in the prevalence of disability in working-age adults and the likeliness of ineligibility for council-funded care, companies such as Manage At Home should see a notable shift in their demographics if they haven't already.

Paying for independence: A Convenient Solution

Despite Boris Johnson's government pledging a further £1.8bn to the NHS in August, it's no secret that Local councils and overall governmental funding are on the decline, with major northern cities reportedly scrambling to find upwards of £50 million just to stand still. This suggests that any future funding into reducing wait times for Occupational Therapist assessments and District Nurse visits may come into jeopardy.

Local authorities and CCGs have adopted a drive for preventative care, signposting services like Manage At Home for Daily Living Aids that could be bought and utilised to prevent more serious health issues further down the line.

Purchasing equipment and aids is not only the current preferred prevention method, but it also offers convenience, as options are made available to find what's right for the person. An example of this is AskSARA, an online self-help guide that, through answering a short personalised questionnaire, provides you with products and information that could help you with your condition. Platforms such as these are ideal for both working-age adults and over 65s and promote self-care.

Promoting self-care for all

Manage At Home and Medequip have a small team that attend events across the country, offering information and advice on how to make independence easier. Covering well over 200 events a year in around 40 different areas of the UK the events team see many people, spanning a wide age range and level of ability.

With the UK population not only ageing but growing year on year, It's important now more than ever that we make all houses accessible for all. Taking the step to support & promote the independent purchasing of Daily Living Aids and equipment is a major first step. Handing people the power as to what goes in their homes not only makes it easier to aid independence but relieves pressure from an already stretched NHS budget and provides an alternative to Community Equipment Loans.

Further Reading and Resources

Visit the Manage At Home website

Visit the Medequip Website

Use Medequip/Manage At Home's Self Help Guide (AskSARA) by clicking here

See the Office for National Statistics' 'Overview of the Population: July 2017'

Read the 'Health Survey for England 2017'

Read more of the 'Social Care 360' here

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Cefndy-Medequip Features In Welsh Media After Ministerial Visit

Cefndy-Medequip Ministerial Visit

Posted on the South Wales Argus' website, reporter Jo Barnes highlights the praise received from Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People following his visit to the Newport site last Friday.

In the report, Tomlinson was quoted commending the Depot's equal opportunity hiring policy, stating that 'Businesses like Cefndy-Medequip provide an important role in their communities, Opening up opportunities to people of all backgrounds and supporting people to thrive and lead more independent lives'.

Read the full article, including interviews with Cefndy-Medequip employees here.

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Medequip – Developing Effective Falls Prevention Programmes

Wirral Independence Service - Falls Prevention Service

Falls are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.3 billion every year. Each year, more than one in three people aged over 65 suffers a fall that can result in serious injury or even death. Annually, ambulance services respond to more than 700,000 calls from older people who have fallen, representing 10% of total callouts. Reducing the risk and rate of falls, therefore, has a significant role to play in improving the health of the older population, not just in terms of reduced costs but also in maintaining independence for older people.

The Wirral Falls Prevention Service was originally commissioned by Public Health with the overall aim to reduce the number of falls experienced by older people in Wirral (age 65 +). In July 2015, the service was included in the Wirral Independence Service contract and the commission was awarded to Medequip UK Ltd – the first time a falls prevention service has ever been outsourced in the UK.

The small, multidisciplinary Medequip team consists of physiotherapists, and occupational therapist, nurses and technical instructors, placing the emphasis firmly on education, training, creating safer environments, prioritising fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk. The team has successfully built and enhanced services and facilities for patients, contributing towards a notable reduction in falls and associated costs for Wirral NHS.

The team focuses on falls assessments, including a detailed multifactorial needs assessment and making use of a clear referral pathway to other agencies, dependent upon the outcome of the assessment. Trained instructors deliver suitable evidence-based progressive Postural Stability Instruction programmes, with community chair-based programmes for frailer individuals.

Also, the team provides training to staff working with vulnerable older people, particularly nursing, residential home staff and carers, to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and support to undertake initial falls screening assessments.

Alongside this work, the Medequip Falls Prevention Service has developed a public awareness education programme including a presentation delivering falls risk information, self-management and healthy living advice, delivered to client groups within community settings. A comprehensive booklet entitled ‘Taking Positive Steps’ has been written and produced, advising older people on falls risks and how to prevent them.

Medequip developing effective falls prevention programmes

So how has it worked in practice? 79% of referees to the Medequip Wirral Falls Prevention Service had no further falls at six weeks post-intervention and the average number of falls reduced by three per week. 76% had improved confidence in Activities of Daily Living and 90% of lower impact chair-based programme attendees showed improved balance.

Falls prevention chair exercises

In addition, the Falls Prevention Service has played a part in ensuring that fall attendances at Wirral hospitals have decreased by 18% from 14,800 in 2014/15 to 12,210 in 2017/2018. Data from 2018/2019 (April to December 2018) suggests that this figure is continuing to decrease.

Medequip is now looking closely at investing in this area of expertise to develop it into a transferable model for other areas where the company operates community equipment services contracts.

Information from the Trauma and Injury Intelligence Group [TTTG] at Liverpool John Moores University, part of the Intelligence and Surveillance Team at Public Health Institute, LJMU

For further information please contact:

Medequip:
Julie Griffiths
julie.griffiths@medequip-uk.com

Editorial:
Ann Horan
pr@dmddesign.co.uk
01422 371633

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Medequip Acquisition Expands Telehealth Capabilities

Medequip Connect Logo

Medequip Assistive Technology has this week announced the acquisition of the business of County Careline Services, in a move which signals the community equipment specialist’s commitment to expanding operations in the Technology Enabled Care sector across the UK.

A nationally based organisation providing services to over 10,000 people nationwide, County Careline Services provides telecare assistance and support to older, disabled or vulnerable people, helping them to remain safe and independent in their own homes.

Acquisition of the business by Medequip secures the future for these service users, as well as for almost 40 people employed by County Careline Services at four service centres in the North West, Cumbria, Suffolk and Oxfordshire. Medequip’s latest technology enabled care service will be known as Medequip Connect.

Medequip is pleased to welcome this competent and dedicated workforce as an important asset for the development of services into the future.

"Alongside our recent move into the wheelchair services market, this acquisition strengthens our foothold in telehealth, expanding our footprint in the UK and complementing our core community equipment business,” stated Peter Gaunt, Operations & Commercial Controller for Medequip. “The analogue to digital revolution is changing the world of telecare, with opportunities for more technologically advanced services as we are already seeing in Australia and New Zealand. Medequip intends to be in the vanguard here in the UK, developing innovative ways of keeping people safe and independent for longer in their own homes."

For further information please contact:

Medequip:
Matt Ward
matt.ward@medequip-uk.com
01484 504121

Editorial:
Ann Horan
pr@dmddesign.co.uk
01422 371633

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Focus on TEC Quality Accreditation at Medequip

Quality standards play a vital role in helping responsible businesses to audit and verify their performance across a wide range of parameters. Medequip Assistive Technology is the first commercial organisation operating in the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) industry in the UK to achieve accreditation to the TEC Quality’s new NAEP (National Association of Equipment Providers) module for our Heathrow operations, underlining Medequip’s commitment to providing safe and compliant services.

TEC Quality manages the Quality Standards Framework (QSF) on behalf of the TEC industry representative body, the TEC Services Association (TSA). The QSF is a set of outcome-based standards developed in partnership with key stakeholders across the TEC sector. Recent UKAS accreditation to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 for the Certification of Technology Enabled Care Services has further strengthened the organisation’s corporate governance, impartiality and independence.

Putting the focus on Community Equipment Services

The new QSF NAEP module focuses on community equipment services, looking at compliance on delivery of CES. It is an important step forward in enabling providers and suppliers to demonstrate advanced levels of safety and quality to commissioners and service users alike, concentrating primarily on outcomes rather than checklist-driven auditing procedures.

Medequip was an integral part of the pilot for the new NAEP module and has supported the scheme as it evolved as a service delivery module. For Medequip, the outcomes-based approach enabled a totally independent auditing process across the whole journey of the individual receiving the service, from a corporate level to how this is delivered across Medequip’s sites and how it impacts upon the service user.

“We believe this step is revolutionary to setting the standards in our industry sector,” stated Marie Martinalli, head of SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) and Governance and Training for Medequip. “Completing the NAEP module gave us a 360° view of exactly what we do as a company, identifying key areas where Medequip already had plans in place to deliver continual improvements.“

Achieving best practice

Accreditation to TEC Quality standards is not yet a prerequisite for community equipment service providers, but for Medequip it provided an important opportunity for an independent audit of the services delivered by the company and of its own internal audit processes. Medequip is already accredited to CECOPS (Community Equipment Code of Practice Scheme); and the new accreditation sits alongside this to enable Medequip to achieve best standards and compliance for stakeholders, service users and commissioners.

Press Release:

Blogger Praises Manage At Home and Best-Selling Bath Lift in Honest Review

Medequip's online retail website, Manage At Home have been praised in a review of a top-selling bathlift by an influential disability blogger.

Carrie Aimes, the face behind disability and lifestyle blog, Life On The Slow Lane, received a Bellavita Recliner Bath Lift by Drive DeVilbiss in exchange for a fair and honest review, and ended up praising not only the bath lift, but the Manage At Home team also.

In an excerpt taken from the review, Aimes comments on the staff's demeanour:

''The team at Manage At Home have been fantastic ~ extremely professional, supportive, friendly and efficient.''

Read the full review

Press Release:

Medequip Duo Gain Media Coverage Following 100 Mile Charity Cycle

Nationally recognised industry publications have been noting the efforts of Medequip managers, Matt Ward and David Whittaker, following their success in the gruelling 100 mile Velo Birmingham & Midlands bike race.

Medequip’s head of retail, Matt Ward, and general manager, David Whitaker

Raising over £1000 for the company's chosen charity, Alzheimer's Society, the pair finished in the top 10% of 17000 riders, leading to an article on Care Sector Hub as well as publications, THIIS and AMP reporting on the achievement.

Read the full articles here:

Medequip bosses take to two wheels for Alzheimer’s Society (AMP)

Medequip pair put in power pedal performance to finish in top 10% for Alzheimer’s Society (THIIS)

On two wheels for the Alzheimer’s Society (Care Sector Hub)

Press Release:

Manage At Home Get Involved in National Walking Month with Supportive Blog Post

Medequip's retail website, Manage At Home have uploaded a new blog post, 'The Benefits of Walking' in order to help support National Walking Month, and to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst their service users.

The post comes as day 2 of their week long social media campaign, following the success of previous promotions such as the Easter Egg Hunt and UK Coffee Week.

New Social Media & Content Marketing Specialist for Medequip & Manage At Home, Tom Rogers wrote the post in order to create a connection between service users and the company.

He told Medequip news:

I think it's important to form a relationship between us and the people who buy our products, and posts like this make a difference.

Elderly and disablility healthcare is incredibly important, and I think companies should be doing more to care for their service users in more ways than just selling helpful equipment.

I think there's a lot of really great work in this going on at our company and the aim is for people to see how much we care.

You can find the post on the Manage At Home Blog, and across their social media.

Press Release:

Medequip the Closest Out of 10 to Reach an Almost Equal Figure - Gender Pay Gap Report 2019

Leading healthcare trade magazines have released reports comparing the largest UK employers in mobility services’ Gender pay gap reports.

In an effort to achieve gender pay equality, companies with over 250 employees are now required by the government to state their gender pay gaps going back to 2017.

In their report, THIIS (The Homecare Industry Information Service) have compared 10 of the leading mobility service companies;

Community equipment supplier Medequip reported in 2017 that its average hourly pay rate for women was higher than that of men by 5.4 percent. In 2018, this figure has fallen to just 0.3 percent, making the organisation the closest out of the 10 to reach an almost equal figure between men and women’s average hourly pay rate.

-access the full article here: Mind the gap 2018/19 – How the mobility industry’s largest employers compared against last year

Industry news platform, Access and Mobility Professional (AMP) have also released an article on the gender pay gap reports, commenting on the inconsistency across the industry. Writing about Medequip’s report, AMP’s Joe Peskett states;

Medequip, which holds wheelchair services and community equipment contracts across the UK, has the narrowest gap of industry companies to have submitted their data.

-access the full article here: Largest mobility firms inconsistent in efforts to reduce gender pay gaps

Read Medequip’s gender pay gap report

Press Release:

Rotherham Equipment & Wheelchair Service

REWS Logo

Medequip Assistive Technology are delighted to be named as the lead provider of the Rotherham Equipment & Wheelchair Service (REWS) from Friday 1st February. Following a competitive tender process in 2018, Medequip, in partnership with Blatchford and Ross Care were awarded the contract to provide this service by the NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Integrated Equipment and Wheelchair Service in Rotherham will provide service users with the equipment that they need to stay independent and to live at home. The service incorporates delivery, installation collection and recycling of a wide range of community equipment and wheelchairs, together with servicing and maintenance. A clinical assessment service for wheelchairs will assess service users’ needs for specialist assistive technology and will co-ordinate the provision of the equipment.

The service will continue to be delivered from the REWS distribution centre on Chesterton Road, Eastwood, Rotherham.

Ben Williams, Business Improvement Manager and Implementation Lead for Medequip said: After a 12 week implementation period, we are delighted to ‘go-live’ on Friday 1st February. We look forward to welcoming the existing REWS team to Medequip, Blatchford and Ross Care as partner providers of the service. As the leading provider of equipment services in the UK we are well placed to deliver a high quality effective service for the people of Rotherham with the courtesy and kindness that is at the heart of our values and in line with our vision of keeping people independent for longer.

Ian Atkinson, Deputy Chief Officer for NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group said: We welcome Medequip Assistive Technology to Rotherham and see the new Rotherham Equipment and Wheelchair Service contract as integral to supporting us to deliver the Rotherham Health and Social Care Place Plan. Through ensuring people receive the right equipment in a timely manner, we can continue to support them to maintain their mobility and live independently.

Date:

Dementia Friendly Rossendale / Medequip Partnership

Medequip is working in partnership with Dementia Friendly Rossendale to run a campaign to encourage businesses in Rossendale, East Lancashire to become more dementia friendly.

There are 3 primary goals...

  • To raise awareness of dementia in our community.
  • Provide access to further learning and understanding about living with dementia.
  • To inspire Rossendale residents to create projects and actions that will ensure people living with Dementia feel included.

We have designed and printed information leaflets that provide businesses with information they need in order to take the necessary steps to become a more dementia friendly organisation.

Two-thirds of people with dementia live in the community. Many rely on retail services to maintain their independence and a good quality of life. Others just like going shopping, and want to be able to continue to do so for as long as possible. They may do this independently, or with their families or carers. However, they cannot do this without us making it easier for them.

We have also developed window acetates that will be presented to businesses as an accreditation of their efforts to become more dementia friendly. You can get involved and display the sign below. Dementia Friendly Rossendale will commit to providing Dementia Friends session to a group of your employees and will help you with an environmental audit to check where dementia friendly improvements could be made to your premises and processes.

If you would like to get involved you can contact Dementia Friendly Rossendale: www.dementiafriendlyrossendale.org
dementia.rossendale@gmail.com
Twitter: @DementiaRoss

Date:

Medequip Outlines Intention to Diversify Into Complementary Sectors

Far from being trophies to collect for the cabinet, industry accreditations are highly sought after certificates that represent a commitment to standards, which in the healthcare and mobility sector, is especially important. Medequip was duly pleased therefore when it recently secured corporate accreditation for each of its community equipment services from CECOPS, the user-led independent certification and standards body, whose job is to raise the standard of all assistive technology related services across the UK.

Aside from the prestige that comes with the accreditation from CECOPS, the achievement places Medequip in a stronger position during the tendering process for community equipment contracts. Therefore, along with the various ISO accreditations the company has achieved for a number of years, the importance of Medequip’s most recent milestone, and its significance for the business, should not be underestimated.

The accreditation was not gleaned overnight however, and Medequip has undergone evolution and change to bring it to the position it currently sits at. Instrumental in leading some of the most recent developments, head of safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) and governance, Marie Martinalli, says that various improvement projects across the business have demanded hard work, time and resources. Building on the groundwork laid out by her predecessor, Martinalli says the team has spent time to ensure the systems at each of Medequip’s depots are lined up so that processes and procedures across the portfolio mirror each other. Consistency, she says, has been key to corporate accreditation.

“Some things are slightly different at certain sites because they are contract based. But to be fair, we’ve traditionally been quite consistent. I think the thing that’s made it easier for us, from a SHEQ point of view, is the internal audits that we do. Our internal audits are the same across every single depot and they look to make sure that everybody is following the same procedures and policies. And our audits have strengthened so they’re not just looking at what we do as a company, but they also consider all the relevant accreditations. We look at everything surrounding ISO 14001 (environment management), 9001 (quality management), 18001 (health and safety) and we’re now going for our ISO 27001 (information security).”

Because Medequip’s audits pull on clauses from across various accreditations, including CECOPS, it has made it easier to apply a comprehensive strategy across each depot and ensure each one is benchmarked the same. It seems that being proactive has been a core reason for Medequip gaining its latest accreditation and scrambling around weeks before an audit to get things in order simply will not cut it.

But it is also important for organisations to work closely alongside the awarding bodies and know inside out the clauses they are working to. Only looking inwardly is not enough and Martinalli explains that open and frequent communication and engagement with CECOPS was pivotal when working towards corporate accreditation. Regular meetings and conversing even when an audit was not going on helped build an ethos of two bodies working in partnership and looking at evidence in unison.

It is clear then that a lot of thought went into Medequip’s strategy for gaining its latest certificate and the benefits for the company are evident. Better standards should mean a better experience for the service-user which should theoretically improve business. But what does Medequip’s milestone mean for the rest of the industry?

Martinalli comments: “As an industry, I think it opens up opportunities for other organisations, including our competitors, and spurs them to go for the same thing. That’s going to be good for the service-user and that’s what we’re all here for at the end of the day. When we are going into partnership on tenders with other companies, it makes it easier for us if they’ve got a corporate accreditation as well, so that’s an incentive and opportunity.”

But the industry still has a way to go before standards are satisfactory across the board. Martinalli thinks the extent to which the industry must improve differs from on provider to the next, depending on what kind of foundation they have. She adds that as a company, Medequip likes to think that it is “quite open” and happy to advise and support other organisations, so long as there is not a conflict of interest, to help raise standards. She admits however, that companies can be limited by their resources and Medequip has been fortunate to have the financial muscle to be able to really invest in its accreditations.

Martinalli adds: “It’s also about having the right skill set and people; especially people with experience of audits because if we weren’t able to do the appropriate internal audits in the first place and be proactive then we probably wouldn’t be where we are now.”

For a £160m business, you could rightly expect investment to be made in areas such as recruitment and improvement projects, but it is the level of detail that Medequip has gone to that really impresses.

Staff training has been a core part of the business’s development and it continues to refine its training to the extent that staff are learning to train others. What’s more, the company ensures that each staff member really understands the accreditations and audits themselves and encourages them to become involved.

Martinalli says: “Staff involvement is key. We have an initiative called Eureka where staff put ideas forward to make changes to systems and processes. Take GDPR for example. Because of the legislative changes we had to think about what was best for our service-users, so that even included changing the users’ names on equipment receipts to a reference number. It’s small changes that make an impact on the service user.”

Approaching and adapting to the market

While the corporate CECOPS accreditation and ISO stamps spell good news for Medequip, like any firm in the business of providing community equipment, there are common challenges it must overcome. A particularly topical issue is that of timescales and waiting times, which are a key concern for everyone in the supply chain, from CCG, to provider and ultimately the service-user. Where timescales are concerned, Martinalli says that Medequip works “extremely hard” and that with each contract while the CCG sets out KPIs, the provider has its own internal KPIs that are raised slightly higher.

“The expectation is always slightly higher with regards to what our staff need to meet and achieve so we try and over deliver. We’ve been making some really good process with regards to delivery times and that side of things with the business improvement team, particularity with software and the way we do our routing for equipment deliveries so that they are more streamlined. The service-user isn’t waiting all day for a piece of equipment. We also have a profit and performance related bonus scheme for staff and the KPIs are integrated into that. We consider mentality, enthusiasm and compassion in staff during the recruitment process so staff know the impact of their work on the service-user.”

Aside from time constraints, Nigel Cook, director of HR and SHEQ, says that customer expectations, not just on Medequip, but on everyone in the sector, are becoming greater. Customers are expecting more in terms of cost, quality and service, Cook feels, meaning providers are essentially expected to do more for less. Naturally, this means efficiencies are increasingly important.

A difficult correlation of CCG budgets tightening while both expectations and the number of service-users increase, means that Medequip, like its competitors, must make efficiency a priority. Cook explains: “The way most organisations will approach it is to become more efficient to keep costs down in order to offer the service at the price the customer wants. In days gone by, when you did a tender, it was heavily weighted towards quality. The emphasis now hasn’t moved away from that, but certainly cost is becoming much more of a consideration. Within the business for example, we’ve got, in the broadest possible sense, a number of improvement projects ranging from operational efficiencies, system improvements and people development. The projects are centred on service delivery and cost efficiencies.”

While CCGs are naturally placing more focus on cost during the tendering process, each one operates independently and so providers have to remain flexible. Martinalli says that each tender’s requirements vary and more of them are now focusing on service-user engagement, which is something Medequip is aiming to respond to. For example, the provider is looking at using service-user forums which would mean greater feedback and input from end-users.

Cook adds that commissioners now look for service improvements at either the same cost or service improvements at a reduced cost: “Those improvements can be in any number of areas. Things like speed of delivery and so on. When we’re tendering, not only are we competing against our traditional competitors. There are other people entering the healthcare market, for example Virgin and others that are logistics driven, like Amazon, and they’re a potential risk to any business in the sector.”

But how far can a company like Amazon, arguably a logistics firm at heart, compete with established equipment providers that invest as heavily as they do in the service-user experience? While companies like Amazon may be perceived as ‘box shifters’ by some observers, the efficiencies they can offer can be attractive. Cook says that companies like Amazon do not have the experience of reverse logistics and the re-cycling of equipment required by the NHS neither do they have ethos required in the care sector to deal with vulnerable people with complex medical needs.

In the interest of driving efficiencies however, providers like Medequip cannot simply keep bringing costs down indefinitely and remain sustainable. So what else can organisations do to get an edge on their competitors when tendering?

Cook comments: “It comes back to your service delivery but also what you can add back. There’s a bigger emphasis on that so that’s how you gain an edge. You can gain an edge by being cheaper but you gain another edge by offering capability that other organisations don’t have. Social value is one example. We would say that our IT system is added value compared to other organisations. It is about the way you go about things and the organisation as a whole and how it delivers efficiency and what developments it has ahead of it.”

Embracing change

Having achieved the corporate accreditation it set out for, Medequip’s sights are now set on further developing the business as much as possible and placing itself in a strong position for when more tendering opportunities inevitably arise.

Martinalli says that on the accreditation side of things, Medequip is targeting ISO 27001, which relates to new GDPR regulations, as well as CECOPS approval for its wheelchair service in Suffolk. Aside from accreditation, Medequip’s natural goals moving forward will be winning more tenders but the two go hand-in-hand. Martinalli says that having robust systems in place already puts the business in a better position for getting more accreditations and therefore tenders.

The company will also be looking to diversify reveals Cook. He says: “We’ve traditionally focused on community equipment services and we’ve recognised that while there are still opportunities there, as an organisation, if we want to continue to grow then we need to diversify. We’re not looking to diversify in completely different areas but instead looking at areas you would regard as complementary and a natural fit. We’re looking at how we might re-enter wheelchair services, telecare and other primary areas. The business is looking at other things strategically that we haven’t yet got involved with but are complementary to what we do.”

Finally, Medequip’s recent partnership with Cefndy Healthcare in Wales hints at scope for more partnerships on certain tenders. In today’s industry, companies must be prepared to compromise and work together on contracts and when the tendering opportunity came up in South Wales, Cook says it suited both parties.

He concludes: “Cefndy had the local knowledge and sheltered workshop experience, we had the logistics expertise, systems and processes. Both companies thought it would be advantageous to local residents that we work together rather than try and tender separately for the work. And obviously Medequip wasn’t widely known in Wales. For us it was partly a strategic opportunity to gain a foothold in Wales.”

It is evident that Medequip is continually looking to diversify and evolve to stay ahead of the game. This has meant being proactive, flexible and open to change, which for one of the larger organisations in the sector, is admirable. More importantly though, its strategy for attention to detail, staff involvement and pursuit of approval from industry bodies, is setting a positive example for similar companies. While it admittedly has much greater resources than smaller firms who might be competing for contracts, lessons can nevertheless be taken from its model.

If these lessons can help to raise standards and drive efficiency across the whole industry, then not only will service-users benefit, but the most innovative and responsible providers will reap the rewards. That can only be a positive direction for the sector to move in in what are very challenging times.

GDPR

New GDPR regulations that came into force in May saw businesses across every sector scrambling around to comply. For Medequip, which serves and holds the data for more than 14m people in the UK, the new legislation was a major consideration.

Head of SHEQ and governance, Marie Martinalli, explains that Medequip placed itself in an “ideal situation” by strategizing its information governance (IG). Adopting the NHS IG Tool Kit has made the transition to the new legislation easier and it recently recruited an experienced new IG officer.

Martinalli explains: “We’ve got a very detailed plan and we achieved what we wanted to by the deadline. The other thing is we had so much board level support and it was a focus every single month for the board. We started preparations in March 2017 and ran a whole training programme for staff including cleaners, even though they don’t see or touch personal data.”

But she admits that GDPR compliance has been harder for smaller independent companies that do not have the resources or systems to implement the necessary changes effectively. She says that many smaller businesses are still paper based and do not have the necessary governance arrangements, adding that the Information Commissioner’s Office could do more in this respect.

Developing expertise in retail

Mobility retail is a growing market. Medequip’s Manage@Home arm is primed to capitalise on the increasing online spend of the consumer in this sector. Cook says retail has grown from nothing to £1.5m in just 5 years.

“The retail side was a market that Medequip entered as it realised alternative routes to market were required and it offered an added value opportunity to its core operations. We have a retail facility in every depot contributing to social value and our offering to the customer.”

Date:

Medequip is the first company to gain corporate CECOPS accreditation

CECOPS Logo

Medequip Assistive Technology is the leading provider of Community Equipment Services to local authorities and the NHS across the UK, delivering a wide range of equipment and support to people in their own homes, keeping them safe and independent for longer.

As one of the largest equipment providers in the UK and operating out of 19 specially adapted depots across the country covering a population of more than 14.5million people, Medequip want to lead the way in best practice and ensuring the highest quality of service to our customers and service users alike.

As part of our service strategy we worked closely with CECOPS to ensure our operating processes were industry leading and putting us ahead of the game in our industry sector.

Nigel Cook, Director of HR, SHEQ and Governance said CECOPS have helped Medequip meet and exceed customer expectations whilst always maintaining the Company ethos of putting the end user at the heart of what we do.

CECOPS CEO, Brian Donnelly, says CECOPS is the gold standard for quality in the assistive technology space. We are delighted that Medequip has achieved corporate accreditation for all of their community equipment contracts. Their commitment to quality was evident and they have worked incredibly hard throughout the process.

Date:

Staffordshire County Show 2018

Medequip exhibition unit at Staffordshire County Show 2018

On Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st May, Joe Woodvine & Alex Roberts attended the Staffordshire County Show, using our exhibition unit to promote Medequip’s services and retail offering. We were supported by Lizzie Strandring and Jemma Dennehy from the Staffordshire Customer Service Team, to help us promote and hero the great work we do with the local service offering of the Community Equipment Loan Service.

Day one, the weather wasn’t on our side, with periods of rain, but footfall was still strong, where we spoke to over 50 people - all receiving a copy of the new Manage At Home catalogue and retail leaflets to signpost the retail shop within the Stafford Depot. We had a good mix of daily living aids to demonstrate, which were also available for purchase. We also promoted our ‘Show Special” – the Breville Hot Cup Kettle – a product that enables people to make a hot drink without the need to lift or over fill their cup. Free with the kettle, included, tea bags, chocolate treats, a Medequip mug and soft toy.

Day two, the weather improved significantly and was hot and sunny day for the majority. Footfall was much stronger and we spoke to over 80 people. People were in good spirits and many of our service users were in attendance, enjoying the show – with great feedback of our services within Staffordshire. One lady and her daughter were extremely thankful for all the support and speedy delivery of equipment they had received for her late husband and couldn’t thank us enough!

We spoke to Staffordshire Carers Hub, who were more than happy to take our literature and copies of the new Manage At Home catalogues to signpost people back to Medequip. Product sales for day one, totalled £20, which included; a Helping Hand reacher, leg lifter, sock aid and tablet splitter.

Day two sales were much better at £189, which included; a can pull, large pill box, universal jar opener and the sale of a ‘Show Special’ wheelchair, which was closed by Lizzie Strandring, who has arranged for delivery direct to the customers home.

Our usual free walking aid checks were available, where we conducted over 10 checks and issued a free replacement ferrule.

We also raised money for the Alzheimer’s Society, which consisted of general donations and those who donated to receive a wooden walking stick, cut to size and a free ferrule. In total, £53.68 was raised.

Overall, a positive two days, showcasing the great work we have been doing in Staffordshire from the equipment loan service, that we pride our self on, to our competitive retail offering of products available from Manage At Home to fulfil our core company ethos – keeping people independent for longer.

Sheep at Staffordshire County Show 2018

Date:

Raising £4500 for Alzheimer's Society

Our amazing team of Mede-Mudders have hit their target of raising £4500 for Alzheimer's Society – Brilliant performance Guys and Girls! Thank you to all involved.

Mede-Mudders

Mede-Mudders: Andrew Firth, Asif Khan, Ben Williams, Dariusz Bzducha, David Gardner, David Pope, Hayley Wilson, Jamie Welland, Jessica Sandy, Michaela Harris, Ryan Duxbury, Samrawi Tesfay

Date:

Dementia Action Week (21st May – 27th May 2018)

Dementia Action Week

In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes. Yet too many people living with dementia face the condition alone and excluded from society. Medequip have taken steps to create awareness amongst our staff to improve our understanding of dementia and the effects dementia has on family members and sufferers. We already have over 150 Dementia Friends within the business and we have a rolling program of Dementia Friend’s training sessions all our staff are encouraged to attend.

To date we have raised over £20,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society through various activities including car boot sales, bake sales, sponsored walks and sky dives!!

Monday 21 May - Sunday 27 May is Dementia Action Week and we have plenty going on to create awareness of the condition and support our nominated charity partner, Alzheimer’s Society. During Dementia Action Week we will be attending a number of events across the country to showcase some of our daily living aids that can help someone living with dementia.

Monday 21st May

  • Best Practice in Dementia Conference Council House Derby, Corporation Street, DE1 2FS (9.00.am – 4.30 pm)
  • Good Hope Hospital, Rectory Rd, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B75 7RR (10am-3pm)

Tuesday 22nd May

  • Lancashire Dementia Hub - Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland, PR25 1DH (1pm – 5pm)
  • London Road Community Hospital - London Rd, Derby DE1 2QY (9.30 – 3pm)

Wednesday 23rd May

  • Derby City Dementia Support Service The Polish Club, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GU (10am – 2pm)

Thursday 24th May

  • Kirklees Dementia Hub/Age UK - Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Brian Jackson House, New North Parade, Huddersfield, HD1 5JP (1.00pm – 3.30pm)
  • Older Adults Conference Aging Well Birmingham Birmingham City Football Club, St Andrew’s Stadium, Birmingham, B9 4RL (9am – 3pm)
  • Age Concern Birmingham 76-78 Boldmere Road, Sutton Coldfield B73 5TJ (From 2pm)

Friday 25th May

  • Erewash Dementia Information event –Charnos Hall, Ilkeston Community Hospital (10am – 2pm)
Date:

Introducing Cefndy-Medequip

Cefndy-Medequip Logo

We embrace change and seek to achieve excellence

Medequip has branched out and is now working in Newport, Wales! Our first community equipment services contract outside England went live on the 1 April 2018. The Newport depot has a great staff team and as a ‘sheltered’ service provider, around 30% of the employees have learning or physical disabilities. This is a huge change for Medequip which we have embraced wholeheartedly by partnering with Cefndy Healthcare, who are dedicated to the task of creating meaningful, well paid employment for disabled members of the community, through achieving financial viability for its business and any associated social enterprise initiatives.

Medequip and Cefndy have worked together for 25 years; we work on tenders/contracts together and have a sound supplier/customer relationship. This partnership will allow us to widen our geographic coverage of Wales as Medequip and Cefndy are keen to roll this operating model out more widely, providing a unique selling point for both businesses who feel strongly about helping individuals to remain independent for as long as possible, whether that be in the community or in employment.

Cefndy and Medequip have formed a Consortium (aptly named Cefndy-Medequip) to provide this exciting and innovative solution for Gwent Wide Integrated Community Equipment Service (GWICES). The Consortium uses the positive disabled employment experience and Community Equipment Service (CES) product manufacturing capabilities of Cefndy and the extensive CES and logistics solutions experience of Medequip.

The GWICES partnership which consists of the five Gwent Local Authorities and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board look forward to working closely with Cefndy-Medquip in providing a top class service to the service users and patients of the Gwent area.

Please join us in wishing all the staff at our Newport depot all the best for the launch and continued operations of excellence conducted by the Cefndy-Medequip team.

Date:

3 Activities to Help Prevent Dementia

Manage At Home - Your Online Medequip Retail Store has published an article: 3 Activities to Change Your Daily Routine and Prevent Dementia

A growing number of people in the UK are suffering from dementia. According to statistics, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the country, and the numbers are expected to rise to over one million by 2025. This terminal condition is now the most common cause of death among women in the UK. Scientists have yet to find a cure for this cognitive disorder, but the good news is that there are things that you can do to prevent dementia or lessen the risks of having it. Some of these activities won’t only prevent you from developing dementia, but doing them can even change up your daily routine and enrich your life

To read the full article written by Jane Sandwood for Manage At Home, please visit the Manage At Home Blog.

Date:

Prompt Payment Code Approval

Medequip has received Prompt Payment Code approval administered by the Chartered Institute of Credit Management on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Prompt Payment Code Approved Signatory

The Prompt Payment Code (PPC) sets standards for payment practices and best practice and is administered by the Chartered Institute of Credit Management. Compliance with the principles of the Code is monitored and enforced by the Prompt Payment Code Compliance Board. The Code covers prompt payment, as well as wider payment procedures. - promptpaymentcode.org.uk

Date:

Equipment Recycling – A Partnership Story

Medequip – as the UK’s largest provider of Community Equipment Services is very proud of our efforts to maximise recycling and reuse equipment. Over 90% of equipment collected back from our clients is cleaned, repaired, re-packed and reused.

Sometimes we do have products that are not able to be recycled for contractual reasons, and we therefore aim to find alternate uses for these items if at all possible, only diverting to material reclamation as a last resort.

One example of this is our partnership working with Brighter Future in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. We work with them by providing equipment we can no longer use, but which they can re-build or salvage for parts in their workshop which employs young people with disabilities. They are an award winning social enterprise charity - that has been awarded The Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development and this year winners of the 2017 MRW National Recycling Awards Waste for “Electrical and Electronic Equipment Innovation” and winners of the 2017 North West Enterprise Awards for "Best Disability Aids & Equipment Recycling".

Read more about Brighter Futures here: www.bfworkshop.co.uk

Date:

Dementia Awareness Week: 15-20 May 2017

The Medequip promotions team will have their busiest ever week during Dementia Awareness Week commencing on 15th May.

Let's Unite for Dementia Awareness Week

This Dementia Awareness Week we are supporting the Alzheimer’s Society campaign to unite against dementia, by promoting awareness through using our exhibition unit and pop-up table top information point across 5 of our contract areas at 6 different events.

Our week starts at the Anne Marie Howes Centre in Birmingham. (339 Sheldon Heath Rd, Birmingham B26 2DS) where we have a table-top information point providing advice on equipment that can help those suffering from dementia.

On Tuesday, our exhibition unit will be at Mickleover Golf Club which is hosting a dementia conference, hosted by Derby Teaching hospitals and NCORE, the National Centre of Rehabilitation Education.

On Wednesday – we will be at Royal Derby Hospital main entrance with the exhibition unit and simultaneously supporting an awareness event at Derby Heights Care Home in Littleover.

Thursday – sees the exhibition unit out for a 3rd consecutive day – this time Milen Care at Batley in Kirklees. Milen Care are hosting a Health Matters and Dementia awareness event – which will feature, benefits assessments, health checks advice and guidance. 20 different organisations with have stalls at this event.

To finish our support for Dementia Awareness Week we will take the exhibition unit to Endon Methodist Church in Stoke-on-Trent for the Approach Staffordshire event which is designed to highlight the support available locally.

Medequip Exhibition Unit
Date:

Medequip steps in to take back 82-year-old Frank Collins' hospital equipment

A pensioner is finally getting rid of mobility equipment cluttering his house – a year after his wife stopped needing it.

After hearing about Mr Collins’ predicament in the East London & West Essex Guardian, Medequip has offered to step in and save the day.

Operations manager at our Woodford Green depot Yasmeen Mian said: Mr Collins is only a five or ten-minute journey away from us but does not live in the borough that Medequip serve. However after someone at our head office flagged his case up to us we really felt for him - so as a goodwill gesture we would be more than happy to collect and recycle his equipment.

Frank Collins, 82, is finally getting rid of his unwanted mobility equipment

Read the article on the Guardian website.

Date:

Medequip wins largest Community Equipment Service contract in UK

Medequip are delighted to announce that we have won the London Consortium tender to retain our 17 borough Community Equipment Service Contract.

Since our first outsourced Community Equipment Services operation began in 1993 with Hillingdon, we are even more delighted to retain what is the longest outsourced Community Equipment Service in the UK. The new contract will commence on 1st April 2017 for a period of four years, with the opportunity to extend for a further two years.

On the 21st December 2016, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham confirmed that Medequip will continue to deliver Integrated Community Equipment Services, to supply, deliver, fit, adjust, service, collect, refurbish, recycle or dispose of items of Equipment requisitioned by authorised Prescribers on behalf of Service Users, for local Health and Social Care equipment Users across 17 London Boroughs.

The prior Framework was established by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 2010. The procurement process to commission the Integrated Community Equipment service began in January 2016, with the formal procurement process starting in September 2016.

In addition to the contracted services that form the Framework, Medequip will continue to further its commitment to local Social Values by providing 32 apprenticeship places over the duration of the Contract, as well as providing opportunities through local job centres, economic opportunities for local suppliers, and by providing a dedicated budget to local Councils for charity and fundraising events.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events that Medequip will be attending.

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