Inside the Kent NHS hospital control room tracking patients to keep waiting times down

Revolutionary technology is being used at seven Kent NHS hospitals to dramatically reduce waiting times.

The state of the art control room at Maidstone hospital tracks the progress of every patient with staff able to coordinate care around the clock.

Several screens display crucial data on how many patients need a bed, how many are being treated as well as figures for how many and how quickly people are being discharged from the hospitals.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS is the only hospital trust in the country to combine the data from its acute hospitals in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells with local community hospitals such as Edenbridge and Hawkhurst, where patients can be transferred for rehabilitation.

Several screens display crucial information about patient movements on the wards Credit: ITV News Meridian

"It's made a huge difference" says Nick Sinclair Director of Central Operations.

"We we now know in real time where all of our patients are.

"We've sped up our discharge process. So through the use of the technology, we've saved 120 bed days per month just in the technological process of discharging patients versus a manual process."

Patients who are admitted in Accident and Emergency are given a wristband which is used as a tracker until they are discharged.

  • Watch: Bernard and Betty Atkinson, who was suspected of having a stroke, give their reaction to the technology

Once the wristband is removed a cleaner is automatically notified so they can turn the bed around ready for a new patient.

Before this system was introduced, when a patient was discharged, it took an average of 4 hours and 20 mins for the next patient to be admitted to the same cleaned bed.

The technology has slashed almost three hours of this process with it now taking an hour and a half.

The technology is having a real impact in reducing patient waiting times Credit: ITV News Meridian

Consultant nurse John Clulow said, "Previously the nurse in charge was having to phone the the wards, the site practitioner and even having to arrange beds to be cleaned.

"With this new system, it's a one stop shop really for all of these services to go in and get that bed ready for us to be able to identify the beds available to move our patients out to that bed."

The system was brought in just after Covid-19 hit two years ago and is helping reduce the length of in-patient stays as levels of people arriving at the trust for treatment has risen by a fifth.

The investment in new kit has seen waiting times at emergency departments run by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust ranked as among the best in the country.