As part of our #MyBTH campaign, we are highlighting individuals, teams or services that have an important role within the Trust, but who are not often heard of or understood.
Here we look at the TELECOMMUNICATIONS department…
Based in a small office on the first floor of the main corridor at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, is a service that is central to the whole Trust.
Last year, this department took a staggering 462,803 external calls and 259,678 internal calls and they are responsible for making sure the callers are put through to the right people efficiently.
The department has 14 staff who work different shifts around the clock in order to be available to anyone who may call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The team take all calls and redirect them through the hospital’s telecoms network. They also operate the bleep system as well as respond to all emergency calls such as 2222 or 5555.
The operator’s targets are to answer a minimum of 100 calls per hour, but some of the most experienced telephonists in the team can take around 120 an hour.
The department instigates daily test calls to personnel programmed into emergency teams. If the person that is listed is not contactable, the team will chase this.
They also provide an out of hours/twilight/Marie Curie nursing service where they receive calls from patients and relatives who require the service and are responsible for conveying a patient’s medical problems to the relevant district nurse. They deal with the blood bikers who distribute blood to the different sites that may need them too.
The team provide an out of hours service for the ordering of taxis and make taxi firms aware when they are required in response to emergency situations.
They monitor all medical gas/intruder/personal attack alarms and instigate the relevant procedures too. Twice a year, the department also carries out a major incident test to ensure that staff get a turn to deal with this type of situation and can be prepared if it ever happens.
Telephone supervisor, Laura Peel, who has worked in the department for 17 years and still loves her job.
She said: “This really is a lovely little unit and the font of all knowledge. It really is the hub of the hospital.
“It takes four-six months to train one of our operators. There a long list of competencies to be achieved.
“We are always contactable, even when not on duty, to help anyone on shift should they need help. We are always learning something new and between us all, we probably know all the people and departments a caller would need to contact.”
The only negative to the job is the growing number of prank and abusive calls. Unfortunately, these tend to get worse at the weekend.
Laura said: “Callers do get frustrated when we are unable to give out information due to Patient Confidentiality and also when they are trying to contact someone whose phone is switched to voicemail.
“There is little we can do in these situations other than remain professional. We sometimes have to report abusive calls to security.
“We do however get recognised for the vital role we play in the hospital and the team are inundated with Christmas presents each year from the consultants and other members of staff that we help throughout the year.”