Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust went live with the System C Medway Patient Administration System (PAS) and Bluespier Theatre Management System (TMS) at the end of October 2018. The Programme needed to be delivered within a very short time to avoid financial charges from the incumbent supplier.  From kick-off in January to go-live in October the programme was successfully delivered in just over 9 months.

From the outset it had been crucial that the Trust was able to recruit a Programme Manager with the right experience to deliver the programme within the required timeframe.

Ian Arbuthnot, IT Director at the Trust said: “Cloud21 came along at just the right time. We had interviewed other candidates that had not been suitable for the role. Miles Saunders, Director of Consultancy at Cloud21, stood out from the crowd. His extensive experience of IT Programme delivery, in addition to his particularly strong communication skills, was key in the decision to recruit him. His leadership ensured a particularly tight relationship with System C, and he and the Trust Programme team ensured a successful delivery.”

Hitting the ground running

Sadie Leack, Head of IT Programmes, commented: “Miles had managed this type of programme before and the fact that he had already worked with System C on previous projects was hugely beneficial. His prior relationship with System C was like gold dust, because we were working under the pressure of just ten months to go live. Miles knew the team at System C and was able to hit the ground running. This was key to the success of the deployment. Miles also assisted in the recruitment of the programme team, comprising experienced contractors and Trust staff, allowing the programme to commence at pace.”

Sadie also outlined how Miles oversaw the delivery of the data migration, the transformation of which was undertaken by Integris. Data migration was always going to be a critical path activity and relied on the flexibility of all the teams.

Miles said: “Implementing a PAS is a notoriously complex programme with many interdependencies.  Timescales for delivery are normally at least 12 months. Achieving the go-live within ten months was always going to be a challenge.  Having the right governance in place, the right people on the programme team and a good open relationship with the supplier right from the start was vital.”

Sadie was particularly impressed that Miles ensured the right people were involved and she liked his collaborative approach to delivering the project.

She said: “Miles has been a very collaborative leader and involved the right people at the right time. He has managed to get the best out of people – he has gravitas and people would listen. I knew I could rely on Miles. We would meet weekly, informally over coffee. He kept me regularly updated and I trusted him. He was completely autonomous and I was confident we would meet the timescales.”

Resolving problems the right way

Sadie added that the Team has also learnt a lot from Miles, especially the way in which a Programme should be led and how to manage the inevitable problems that arise in such complex pieces of work. “If Miles said there was a problem there really was, because generally he would nip issues in the bud himself. There was rarely an escalation, so when there was, it was clear it was a real problem that required a different level of input from the Trust. . His documentation was also very professional, with the right and relevant content. The PID was an exceptional document that was created in partnership, as it should be, between the supplier and the Trust.”

She continued: “The way Miles ran the Programme Board meetings was also the way they should be run. There are certain expectations of people and you need to be astute and politically aware. Being able to work with different teams in different ways, in different environments, is a skill in itself. You need to be adaptable and Miles really was.”

Miles has now been with the Trust since January 2018. His original contract was to run until two months after go live to clear up any post go live issues. This has been extended until the summer 2019 to provide continued support to the Trust PAS team.

A member of the team

Sadie said: “It was helpful keeping Miles on longer than originally planned. His post go live support has been tremendous. We went live in October and two months beyond that just wasn’t enough. We needed him for handover and for post project evaluation; we also didn’t want him to leave any unfinished issues. Not only that, it has felt very much like Miles is a member of the team rather than an external consultant. Within the team, he was always Miles ‘the PAS Programme Manager’, not ‘Miles from Cloud21’ and that is the way it should be.”

Miles said: “The way Cloud21 conducts business is very much a team approach. Our people always work with Trusts as an integral team member. We never encourage a ‘them and us’ environment because we all need to work together as a single, coherent team. This is a big part of delivering successful programmes. Working at Brighton has been really enjoyable for me too. It’s been a great team to work with and there has been real camaraderie to deliver the programme on time.”

The client

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals is an acute teaching hospital working across two main sites in Brighton and Haywards Heath. Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton includes the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital and is also the Major Trauma Centre for the region.

The Trust provides district general hospital services to Brighton and Hove, Mid Sussex and the western part of East Sussex, as well as specialised and tertiary services for patients across Sussex and the south east of England.

The replacement of the PAS was a key component of the IT Strategy and provided the foundation on which an electronic patient record can be delivered.

Michael Becket, Managing Director, Cloud21 said: “At Cloud21 we also know that if a PAS is not implemented well, the impact on a trust is immense – it can suffer for years afterwards. A PAS deployment is normally undertaken in 12-18 months, so getting this deployment completed in just nine months is a massive achievement. It’s testament to Miles and the wider team at BSUH and System C in working above and beyond during that time.”