Healthcare consultancy Essentia supports Evelina Children's Hospital

08 February 2019

Evelina Children’s Hospital has contracted consultancy Essentia to help manage the refurbishment of two new wards in the institution. Essentia was recently named as one of 80 firms to have won a place on the NHS’ Health Systems Support Framework.

The National Health Service faces a number of key challenges in the coming years if it is to continue supplying keystone services to the ever-changing needs of the population. While key demographic shifts have put certain aspects of the service under strain, funding cuts have also rocked the NHS, and made it more important than ever that projects to improve its facilities are delivered on time and on budget. To that end, consulting work in the public health system is booming, with external expertise regularly tapped by NHS Trusts keen to deliver quality care and find efficiency savings at the same time.

Evelina London Children's Healthcare is the second largest provider of children's services in London. A part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, the group looks to provide world leading, life-changing care for children, young people and their families. At the start of 2019, the entity announced the completion of a complex refurbishment project to create a specialist unit for children requiring long-term ventilation care at its Children's Hospital in London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, with its original facilities dating back to the 1860s.

The hospital now boasts two specialist wards for the provision of expert care, following a project managed by healthcare consultancy Essentia. Like Evelina London Children’s Healthcare, Essentia grew out of the Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. Launched in 2013, the firm is wholly owned by the Trust, and combines commercial focus with public sector values by investing its profits back into the UK’s celebrated health service. The firm’s 75 employees provide consultancy services, working with clients on strategy and estate development.

Healthcare consultancy Essentia supports Evelina Children's Hospital

Following the work, the new Snow Leopard ward now provides 11 highly-specialised patient bed spaces for the Evelina Children’s Hospital, catering to the needs of patients who, once stabilised, need a transition space that allows them and their families to lead as normal a life as possible, before they can transfer back home. While the Snow Leopard project was at its mid-point, the clinical team also asked Essentia to work on a new Children’s Ambulatory Unit called Snow Fox, a clinical facility with 19 clinical spaces.

Snow Fox now meets the demand for increased paediatric capacity, particularly during winter pressures, after Essentia’s expert team provided project management for both projects from start to finish, managing contracts and relationships in the process. The consultancy worked closely with clinicians and nurses to ensure that the ward met the requirements of staff and patients. It was also responsible for managing a strong design team and contractor procurement process and supervising the main contractor, while overseeing planning to see that the refurbishments did not disturb busy clinical areas.

Dan Humphries, Senior Project Manager at Essentia, commented on the successful project: “Snow Fox has the capacity to care for an additional 250 paediatric patients each week, relieving significant pressure on clinical services as well as caring for children. Snow Leopard, meanwhile, has been designed to enable parents to sleep in the same room as their children, so that they don’t need to be separated. It also has wonderful shared spaces and a children’s playroom, but all designed so that medical equipment is not obtrusive or obstructive.”

Essentia recently won a place on a national consulting framework, which was aimed at making it easier for NHS Trusts and other public sector bodies to procure experts on property and estates strategy. The firm was joined by 79 other consulting firms, IT consultancies, system integrators, healthcare specialists and other professional services providers on the Health Systems Support Framework.


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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.