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Devon Partnership NHS Trust

swcomms provides Devon Partnership NHS Trust with a streamlined VoIP telephone system that creates immediate cost savings.

Devon Partnership NHS Trust is an NHS organisation that works closely with other health and social care providers across the county to support the recovery of people with mental health needs. It delivers services for: adults, older people, people with alcohol and substance misuse issues, people with learning disabilities and people who need forensic or secure mental health services. The Trust was created in 2001, serves a population of around 890,000 people and has an annual budget of £108 million. It employs around 2,000 staff and also has about 100 staff assigned from Devon County Council and Torbay Care Trust, including social workers and support workers.

Eliminate mix of telephone systems 
The Trust had a mix of dated telephone systems serving its sites, including its headquarters at Wonford House Hospital in Exeter. Some of these systems were provided through the Trust’s links to the neighboring Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and others were provided by a Centrex solution. The latter was proving to be very expensive with each extension being individually charged on an ongoing, indefinite rental fee. The Trust was eager to eliminate the mix of telephone systems and adopt a unified service that would be more cost-effective and efficient for its users. swcomms had already provided a solution to the former Devon Primary Care Trust, which used to work closely with Devon Partnership Trust, and so we were invited to suggest an upgraded, consolidated solution for the Wonford House Hospital site.

We initially deployed an Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise telephony solution for their Recovery and Independent Living Team based at the Hospital as a trial to replace the existing Centrex system before starting a rollout programme to replace the Trust’s aged equipment throughout the organisation. swcomms’ engineers evaluated the existing data infrastructure to ensure that it could be configured correctly to enable quality of service for all voice the calls made over the network. VoIP is supported by the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise thus the cost of installing new cabling was nullified by using the data network for telephony purposes and all internal calls are free.

VoIP handsets replaced the existing antiquated handsets to give the Trust’s staff modern, highly functional yet easy-to-use devices providing services including voicemail, call recording and dial-by-name options. In-house system management has been achieved with the provision of the Alcatel-Lucent OmniVista 4670 Network Management System. This enables the Trust’s IT staff to activate any changes that need to be made on the system themselves negating the need to call in a third party engineer. Extension moves and changes are also simplified as the very nature of an IP network permits handsets to be simply unplugged from one port and plugged in elsewhere. The platform's open architecture enables the Trust’s IT managers and administrators to effectively monitor and maintain the network to lower the total cost of ownership and to facilitate the removal of a costly Centrex service. This suite of network management applications includes accounting, performance management and directory services to help the Trust keep on top of call costs and the ability to create, add and amend the Trust’s telephone directory.

Gradual rollout
Following the initial trial, the solution has been rolled out to a number of other departments and remote workers reaching up to 600 users at the last count, but it is easily capable of accommodating more than 5,000 users. Since the installation at Wonford House, the Trust has commissioned swcomms to undertake an audit of its entire telephony estate and to highlight any problems. The result of this audit led to the installation of a second Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise at the Langdon Hospital in Dawlish with a further 30 smaller sites having a technology refresh with the deployment of Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Office systems. The Trust’s IT team is able to manage all of these sites from the central hub at the Wonford House.

By installing the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise, the Trust realised immediate savings in eliminating the costs of the Centrex system and could use these savings to invest in further equipment to roll out to the rest of the hospital site. Coupled with the centralised management platform and the savings that have been made by bringing many engineering tasks in house to its IT department, the Trust now owns a cost-effective solution that it can develop and grow as required. The Trust’s decision to audit its entire estate is testament to the success of swcomms’ original solution with all of their Devon healthcare groups now enjoying the same cost savings and streamlined practices already provided at Wonford House.

Ron Powell, the Trust’s technical projects manager, said “swcomms has enabled us to streamline our telephony system at Wonford House Hospital and quickly achieve the cost savings we wanted. Their advice and support throughout the project has helped us deliver a single, modern system at our Wonford House Hospital site, with the knowledge that we can build on this in the future to provide a single integrated system for the Trust’s numerous sites across Devon."


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