Domenic Kasinos, of iON Ambulance in conversation with James Staniland

Domenic Kasinos, of iON Ambulance in conversation with James Staniland

James, ClearTrace:

Thanks for taking time out to speak with us Domenic, particularly at such a busy time.  We’ve known each other and worked together for the past 10 years, so I know how much it means to you to deliver on your company’s promise of providing first-class care to patients on time, every time.

What is it about the way you have set up iON that enables you to keep that promise?

Domenic, iON Ambulance Care:

As a CQC registered, independent ambulance provider with a national presence the only way we can live up to that promise is for all of our people to keep 3 words at the forefront of their minds.  We must be Safe, Caring and always Improving.

The ancient Greek word ion means ‘going’.  iON Ambulance has always had a sense of energy and forward motion.  We strive for the highest possible standards in what we do, which of course is a constantly moving target. Running this business has never been about doing what is required of us, it’s about considering what is right for our service users and our staff.  We treat people as if they were our family members, only the best will do.

What have been the most challenging aspects of running an ambulance service during a global pandemic?

I think the sheer volume of patient transportation requirements has been one of the hardest things we’ve had to deal with, the constantly changing requirements of the patient journey along with their individual treatment demonstrates the ever changing field of patient care.  Luckily, here at iON we have invested and continue to invest in state of the art ambulances. That enables us to be on the front foot, delivering exceptional patient experiences with high quality care as a major part of that.  With a growing fleet of vehicles and operational bases we are in a great position to flex with peak demand.

Patient safety and the safety of our crews has been a constant worry to me and the senior leadership team.  I continue to be really concerned for their safety, especially as we were dealing with a new virus that no one really understood. The mounting pressure and the uncertainty are far more intense for us because we are dealing with an evolving pathogen.  It’s challenging being in such a fluid situation over the long term, where you simply don’t know how things will unfold.

At the onset of the pandemic we were forced to deal with many factors: a lack of knowledge of the virus, worries about everyone’s well-being, massive shortages in PPE stocks across the world.  We had to make sure we were really thinking through how as an ambulance provider, we could support the NHS and our partners to help them deliver world class care on a daily basis.

Setting out with strong principles is one thing, but what do you think has helped you maintain them?

When I set up iON Ambulance I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to establish an ambulance company that was able to deliver safe, high quality, person-centred care that was effective and well run. To be able to do that I made the decision that investment was a key driver.  I have kept on investing ever since – in technology, in training and in our people.  It’s the only way we can consistently uphold the exacting high standards we set ourselves.

Every 3 years, we upgrade our fleet of ambulances, investing in the latest technology and equipment from stretchers to defibrillator’s.  We refresh staff training every 6 months across all aspects of the business.  I’ve just re-configured the placement of stretchers in our frontline ambulances to give our staff access to both sides of the patient to enable treatment to be given quickly and safely.  These kinds of bespoke fit-outs all cost more to deliver.

I see these investment decisions as the route to giving service users a better treatment experience and keeping my crews’ working environment the best it can be for carrying out lifesaving treatment.  I’m in this for the long haul.  Why would I undermine that by looking at ways to keep running costs low in the short term?  It’s a false economy and does nothing for the reputation of our business.

Why is keeping up with the latest thinking and technology in Infection Control important to you and the team at iON Ambulance?

iON Ambulance service has focused on Infection Control as a top priority from day 1.  The pandemic hasn’t changed anything in that regard. We have always gone the extra mile to ensure we are using the latest products and industry-leading cleaning systems.

Knowing we are doing all we can to protect people has really helped staff confidence.  This is really important for me personally, because I know how much risk I am asking everyone to take on every time they turn up for work.  Working in healthcare and in ambulances, crews come into daily contact with patients who have contagious diseases.  They have to work alongside people every day, well aware of the risks.

ClearTrace’s SD50 Broad Spectrum Disinfectant is used daily in our vehicles to kill pathogens in as little as 30 seconds with a simple spray and wipe procedure.  It is effective against pathogens such as Zika, Ebola and Coronavirus SARS-2 Covid-19.  As an independently verified product we know it is effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, mold, mycobacterium and spores.  It gives us belt and braces protection.

As you know, ClearTrace also provide us with regular compliance audits that include scheduled and unannounced swab testing of our ambulances as well as CQC Audits.  Your teams are here for our CQC visits and inspections, Level 2 IPC (Infection Prevention Control) Training, Make Ready Services for our frontline and PTS fleet as part of iON Ambulance’s overall approach to comprehensive hygiene management.

But we know this new virus is highly contagious and is affecting everyone, including those who were normally fit and healthy. Naturally, this had serious consequences for everyone so we needed to up our game.  We have to keep proving to our staff that we are doing everything humanly possible to keep them safe, doing their utmost to protect them from Healthcare Associated Infections such as Coronavirus SARS-2 / Covid-19.

Is that why you came to ClearTrace to ask about UV-C?

Absolutely.  I’d been following the use of UV-C light and its application for Infection Control with interest.  The initial results and subsequent information highlighted the effectiveness of this technology and I was keen to see if this could be used in ambulances. But as ever, there are always companies coming out of the woodwork saying they have ‘the latest thing’ and making claims that can’t be substantiated.  You could easily end up working with technology that isn’t fit for purpose.

Having a really close working relationship with you at ClearTrace as our Infection Control Partner really helped.  As I remember James, I immediately turned to you and asked your advice about using UV-C light to terminally disinfect ambulances.  As ever you didn’t disappoint because you were already working with this technology here in the UK, putting it through its paces on a number of trial sites with various ambulance designs to demonstrate efficacy and ease of use.

You were able to show me technical data, efficacy and terminal disinfection rates that were outstanding and really made me keen to learn more. The research and data connected to the Finsen Tech THOR UVC® that really impressed me.

The more I delved into the research with you, the more I was convinced that the power of UV-C light would be a game changer in terminal disinfection in ambulances.

Then I got the chance to use the kit myself here in my own ambulances on trial.  That really showed me THOR UVC® lives up to the hype and I knew I was right. The results spoke for themselves. The trial and the initial results that I was witnessing with my own eyes were backed up by culture swabbing and other evidential data in my own fleet of ambulances.

I’m not interested in anything to do with an Infection Control solution that just looks good, or makes people feel like you’re doing something when it’s actually not very effective.  For me, I want an Infection Control solution that delivers consistent proven results. There is no other choice, safety is our number one priority.

That’s why I chose ‘Johnny 5’.

‘Johnny 5’ is the THOR UVC® system from ClearTrace and Finsen Tech.  This R2D2-style robot has enabled us to terminally disinfect vehicles, stations, crew rooms, drug rooms and PPE safely and effectively.

My ‘Johnny 5 Robot’ as he’s affectionally known – or more officially THOR UVC® – has become an integral part of the Make Ready Team.  Johnny 5 gives me absolute confidence that my staff and our patients are safe, first time, every time.  We set him up in the room and watch him go to work.  Then we look at the proof.  Fully disinfected.  First time, every time.

Not only that but I know how fast he can give me that certainty. For example, if we are transporting a patient with Covid in a fully pre-cleaned ambulance, we have to return that ambulance back to base for decontamination.  Even if it’s just a short hop back to the ambulance station.  Normally that would mean I have an ambulance out of action for over an hour, while a ClearTrace Infection Control Make Ready Team cleans it from top to bottom.  With my Johnny 5, terminal disinfection takes place in about 15 minutes, yes that’s right, a game changing 15 minute turn around.

There is a constant time pressure on ambulance services to be there exactly when patients need us, so giving me back 45 minutes in turnaround time is a huge benefit both to the NHS and of course to the patients who are waiting for us to be there for them in their hour of need.

Most UK businesses are talking about battening down the hatches for the recession.  Will you be pulling back on planned investment? 

This is exactly the point at which companies in our sector should be investing as much as possible, not pulling back.  As we try to navigate a potential second wave of the virus whilst making sure patients with other conditions are safely cared for, we need to be absolutely on top of our game when it comes to the kit we use and the information our teams are working from.

If we don’t we’re failing our patients, we’re failing their families and friends and we’re failing our NHS.

That’s why we choose to work with ClearTrace as the UK’s leading Infection Control Management Company.  Working with you gives us absolute faith that we are making the best possible choices on the products and equipment you offer, like Finsen’s THOR UVC®.

You provide us with all the expertise and services we need to operate an effective Infection Control policy.

No other IPC Provider offers this level of service, safety and security as a standard.  We wouldn’t go anywhere else.  We’ve used other services and providers in the past but the commitment and expertise we gain from you and the team at ClearTrace are second to none.

 

iON Ambulance Care operate across London, the South East of England and the East of England and use ClearTrace Infection Control and Finsen Tech’s THOR UVC® machine to decontaminate their fleet of vehicles.

Domenic Kasinos can be contacted on dkasinos@ionambulance.co.uk

ClearTrace Infection Control operate nationwide and are the UK’s leading Infection Control Management Company. Offering a bespoke Total Hygiene Solution ClearTrace provides industry leading chemicals, systems and solutions across healthcare and ambulance providers.

James Staniland can be contacted on james.staniland@cleartrace.co.uk

 

 

Spark Medical Choose ClearTrace As New IPC Provider

Spark Medical Limited, a leading provider of healthcare transport services has chosen ClearTrace Infection Control as its new Infection Control Provider.  The engagement will see ClearTrace provide market leading Infection Control Solutions to Spark Medical including the ClearTrace Total Hygiene Solution platform, routine deep cleaning provision and industry leading chemicals for cleaning and hygiene.

We have a business built upon a reputation for professionalism and service excellence

Matthew Kelly, Managing Director of Spark Medical Limited, is delighted with the new agreement. “As a provider of specialised healthcare transport services to the NHS and Blue Chip Organisations we have a business built upon a reputation for professionalism and service excellence; ensuring we have the best Infection Control provision in place is a crucial element to our business. Following an increase in demand and service delivery Spark Medical were looking to strengthen their Infection Control provision across our bases and staff. In the team at ClearTrace headed up by James Staniland we recognised an organisation that shares our values and understands the importance of the Infection Control. With a growing business, staff and fleet it necessitates a bespoke approach to Infection Control and we needed a provider who is able to adapt with the changing needs of our business. James Staniland and the team at ClearTrace designed a bespoke solution including the provision of announced and unannounced ATP swabbing and audit processes that will assist us to manage and enhance our Infection Control risk exposures with precise control over the important details. This new relationship is already working well for us and we look forward to working in partnership with ClearTrace.

Total Hygiene Solution

James Staniland, UK Sales Director at ClearTrace, comments: “We’re delighted to be able to work with and provide Spark Medical with their IPC Systems. As well as a bespoke product, our ‘Total Hygiene Solution’ is provided by real experts in this sector, we’ve tailored our approach to the management of the risks of healthcare associated infections, scheduling vehicle cleaning and terminal disinfection focused on patient care and staff well-being all backed up by CQC Auditing, ATP Swab Testing and Level 2 IPC Training.

Our industry leading chemical products offer real and effective solutions for healthcare and ambulances operators, these products are tried, tested and independently verified including our SD50 Broad Spectrum Disinfectant is effective in 30 seconds and has been tested against Coronavirus SARS-2 Covid-19, this level of cover is paramount to patient and staff safety and is used daily by the Spark Medical team.

The whole team here at ClearTrace are delighted to be working in partnership with Spark Medical to achieve better outcomes for patients and staff.

What has UV light got to do with COVID-19?

Image courtesy of Juliana TanchakSince the beginning of the pandemic, the media has been full of stories about the role of sunlight in controlling COVID-19. We will leave that debate to experts in medical science but there is an area of UV light technology that we know already ‘is’ helping to fight the spread of the global pandemic. That is UV light in the “C” band (UVC)

UVC light kills superbugs.

C-spectrum UV light is an all-singing, all-dancing bug killer. It gets in to the DNA or RNA of virus molecules and does irreparable harm. Light can penetrate cell structures in less than 3 minutes. We know UVC technology works, because we have been working with Finsen Tech who make the THOR UVC® robot, since the beginning of the Corona virus outbreak in the UK.

What is THOR UVC®?

The ‘Telescopic High Output Rapid’ UVC Robot, or THOR UVC® for short, is a fully-automated infection control technology that disinfects enclosed spaces like ambulances and offices.

Clear Trace have been trialling this particular machine throughout the past few months in London and with Blood Bike Service, Devon Freewheelers. Central London Covid patient ambulances were being cleaned nightly by Clear Trace at the height of the Covid outbreak.

Our teams were pleased to be able to use the THOR UVC® unit because the turnaround times for full hygienic cleaning were vastly reduced. James Staniland, Clear Trace Sales Director states:

“Over time, ambulance crews began to opt for vehicles cleaned using THOR UVC® because they were perceived to carry less risk of infection.”

Devon Freewheelers used a THOR UVC® machine to decontaminate Covid drive-thru testing tents, ambulances and bikes. This gave them absolute trust that human error was being eliminated so that the risk of contamination was minimised. They even used it to decontaminate PPE clothing so that they could re-use it.

We choose Finsen Tech’s THOR UVC®

Lots of other UVC machines are on the market. We chose to work with Finsen Tech’s THOR UVC® machine because:

  • Prior to cleaning, the unit’s computer scans a room without the need for manual calculations so exactly the right dose of UVC is used in any given environment to make sure that the space is completely disinfected.
  • THOR UVC® works floor to ceiling. It even manages to disinfect ‘behind’ areas where items are stored against a wall, such as behind a folded-up ambulance stretcher. There is far less risk of hidden corners where viral spores can lurk undetected.
  • With THOR UVC® we have complete confidence that the space is clear of all virus spores within 1 hour. That is the kind of peace of mind we are looking for, if we are asking our teams to work in the centre of a highly contagious global pandemic.
  • THOR UVC is also the most powerful device available in the world today, it’s UVC output cannot be matched by any of its rivals. 

Cleaning takes far less time and far fewer chemicals are required. It also costs less, in the long term. THOR UVC® clients have seen standard cleaning costs cut in half, meaning the unit generates savings higher than the cost of purchase by the end of year.

Shouldn’t we be using chemicals?

Filling a room full of airborne chemical disinfectants is a very effective way to kill bacteria and virus cells if the space is not going to be used again for some time. Once fogged however, a room must be fully ventilated and cleaned down so that the chemical agents are not inhaled by people moving around in the space.

It’s not so good if you want to re-use the space quickly, as is very often the case within an Ambulance service or a Hotel, where turnaround speeds are of the utmost importance.

THOR UVC® light technology is clinically tested

Thor UVC uses 24 high output UVC bulbs supplied by Signify, part of the Philips Group of companies.  Signify have been testing the efficacy of their bulbs with Boston University.  Because of these tests, Finsen Tech is now able to verify with confidence that Thor UVC can eradicate Covid-19 in minutes. 

The new ‘No Touch’ economy

Photo by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

Photo by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

Contactless card payments have become so popular in recent years that cash has been side-lined.  Now we’re in the thick of this crisis, paying with cash has been reframed as a high risk activity that few sellers or buyers would encourage.  All well and good for the money houses, but in current times ‘contactless’ no longer just applies to how we pay.

Even after lockdown is lifted, human contact of all kinds will remain vastly reduced. 

As the lessening of restrictions moves closer, we take a look at how organisations are reacting to the no-touch way of life.

In our own backyard, we’re pleased to see that Lancaster City Council are taking social distancing measures in the workplace seriously.  In a move to improve workflow speeds without compromising safety, they have installed Perspex guards into Council lorries.  Just one example of an organisation adapting quickly to changing employee needs, whilst still maintaining customer service levels.

Differing COVID-19 strategies across the world are helping us to see what the future of the retail experience might be. 

Dixons Carphone Warehouse for example, are already trialling their revised shopper experience in the Nordics where social distancing has been imposed without high street shutdown.  Everyone here might be getting excited about KFC and Burger King drive-throughs re-opening, but your next ‘purchase from the comfort of your car’ might well be a laptop rather than a quarter pounder.  Goodbye chatbots, hello livestreamed sales assistants offering a personal shopping service.  Real people, a high-touch service experience, but zero contact.

Physical experiences will change all around us but so too will the unseen policies and procedures that govern how work gets done. 

Where did we all stand 6 months ago for example, on the topic of home working for office staff?  It’s something we have been reassessing here at Clear Trace HQ.  Even the procedures you might expect to stand firm are being questioned and reassessed.  It has been impressive to witness for example, how new public sector clients signing up to Clear Trace in recent weeks have been able to work through procurement steps at pace, without sacrificing due diligence on background checks.

It can feel like a Herculean task to maintain rigour whilst efficiently revising procedures, but that’s what we all need to do.  How will everyone tackle office cleaning for example, now that it has become a high risk activity?  What will happen when socially distant workplaces fall foul of infection?  Does every member of your staff know what to do, to make sure your office doesn’t become a virus-friendly environment?  It won’t be long before every business insurance policy asks for sight of your company’s Outbreak Policy and Hygiene Plan.

It might be a completely new area of procedure to you now, but every company with employees working on site needs to be prepared, before the risk comes knocking at your door.

If you don’t know where to start, we can talk you through the basics. 

Call us on: 01524 220225.

 

Meet Sales Director of Clear Trace – James Staniland

A huge welcome to James Staniland who became part of Clear Trace as Sales Director in September 2019. James joins us following extended periods working for Zenith and Chemex in the IPC sector.

Great to have you on board James! You have a very strong track record in IPC, particularly in connection with Ambulances. Why the decision to join Clear Trace at this point in your career?

Sales Director at Clear Trace is exactly the right challenge for me at exactly the right time. This is a young, forward thinking business with a really professional approach to service delivery. With Adam and the highly knowledgeable, specialist teams here at ClearTrace we can take the company to the next level of growth, and ensure that ClearTrace is the first name on everyone’s lips when they think of Infection Control.

Before I joined I was really impressed with how ClearTrace have taken the time to invest in a bespoke software system that ensures consistent standards in hygiene and infection control. It’s something that the IPC sector has needed for some time, but most providers have worked around the issue, using old software bolted together.

For a relatively new, growing company to put in the hard miles on that type of innovation shows the commitment that Clear race has to upholding excellence. Now having seen in detail how the system runs, I’ve been really impressed with what it can do.

Where do you feel you can contribute most to Clear Trace and our clients?

We’re a small team here, so everyone has the freedom to think about what clients need and hunt out solutions fast. It’s a very nimble way to operate. Over the past few years I’ve really enjoyed working in this entrepreneurial way, so I’m looking forward to seeing where I can bring significant benefits for clients as I get to know them.

I think it’s actually my ability to deliver a consistently strong service experience that will add the most value for Clear Trace clients in the long term. I’m a big believer in getting the basics right, day in day out, to make sure reputations are safeguarded.

At Clear Trace I have the time to focus on people, because our core processes are taken care of with a rigorous digital system.

What are you most excited to get working on first?

On the product side there are a couple of really interesting emerging technologies that I’m very keen to add to our offer as soon as possible. More on that shortly! But there is also a lot we can do to extend our service range too.
Clear Trace already offer the total IPC solution, from tracking software to cleaning products to staff. Next on our list is in-depth training, for health professionals and for in-house cleaning teams.

We already get great feedback about how valuable our training sessions are for frontline staff. We want to extend this and help people work together much better, so everyone knows their role in infection prevention. It can be difficult to maintain hygiene in a space where all kinds of different skillsets are at work.

Developing and maintaining best practice takes time and a great deal of collaboration, but Clear Trace are committed to this for the long term. This is our opportunity to shape standards in our industry and I’m really excited to be part of it.

To find out more about Clear Trace and our approach to infection prevention and control, get in touch with James at james.staniland@cleartrace.co.uk .

Our New Franchisee – Ronnie Scotland

Ronnie Scotland joined Clear Trace as our first ever franchisee in February 2019.  Since then he has been busy making himself an integral part of our growing team, looking after clients across the Yorkshire area.

To help you get to know Ronnie, we interviewed him on your behalf:

So Ronnie.  Tell us about your role at Clear Trace

I manage Clear Trace infection control cleaning contracts in the Yorkshire area.  We work with surgeries, health clinics, eye clinics and ambulance firms, making sure all equipment and working spaces are professionally cleaned to CQC inspection standards.

We are a close-knit team.  I’m very lucky to be working with well-trained cleaning staff who know what they are doing and work well together.

Have you always been involved with infection control?

No actually, I have spent a great deal of my career as an accountant in the oil and gas sector.  But I decided I wanted to try something new.  I find my background in managing numbers and people comes in extremely handy at Clear Trace.

I had tried my hand at running different franchises while I lived in the States – we were there 16 years – so when we came back to the UK it was an obvious move to follow that route in the UK.

Which other franchise opportunities have you tried?

While we were in the States I ran a sandwich brand franchise in Daytona Beach.  The perfect location, a great business.  But the company was so big, it could sometimes feel like you were just one of many people making the company grow.  I didn’t really feel like I knew what the overall strategy was, or could influence it much myself.

What was it about Clear Trace that attracted you?

This company is very organised, procedures are all set out to be followed.  That made it much easier for me to hit the ground running when I started up in February 2019.

But really it was meeting Adam Murfitt, the company founder that got me hooked on setting out with Clear Trace.  I liked his honesty and I could see from the way he described the business and its steady growth over the past few years that there was real integrity to his business strategy.

Now that I’m part of that, even though we are based in different areas of the country, it feels like we’re all in head office, pushing the company forward together.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

When we speak with clients, you can tell that we are providing services of real personal value.  Clients trust us to take care of Infection control cleaning, something that is essential to patient health and a huge risk if not managed properly.

It’s so rewarding to know that our teams have taken a load of stress and work from someone’s working day, so they have been able to focus more on patient wellbeing.

You see it in the smiles on people’s faces when they go through a successful CQC review.  Then I think, we helped them do that.  Who wouldn’t feel proud of that?

To find out more about managing a Clear Trace franchise, get in touch with Adam Murfitt on 07957 592997.  Our Franchise Pack tells you everything you need to know.

If you would like more information about Clear Trace services, click here or call 01524 220225.

Improving Infection Control through Collaborative Working

Clear Trace speak at National Radiographers’ Conference

The Care Quality Commission can shut you down for poor infection control

“Never do harm to anyone”

At the centre of the Hippocratic Oath lies a small sentence that his fundamental to our work at Clear Trace. As infection control specialists it is no surprise to us that the CQC take hygienic cleaning procedures so seriously. Any health care provider can be placed in special measures, or even closed, if the management team are not deemed to be consistently meeting their infection control obligations.

Defining ‘infection control’

At Clear Trace we look well beyond normal house-keeping and focus on destroying pathogenic micro-organisms that can often remain, even when an area looks visibly clean. Our processes represent a gold standard in infection control cleaning – we developed the standards ourselves and worked hard to gain the ISO stamp of approval.

Once we had that, we focused on making sure our cleaning teams were carrying out these procedures every step of the way, to maintain the levels of cleanliness our clients expect. This is so much easier now that our purpose-built infection control tracking software is in place and in use across the UK.

What gets in the way of effective infection control?

The working life of an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Cleaning Technician can be a lonely one. Often our work is carried out after normal working hours when all the Medical staff, Radiographers or Ambulance staff have packed up and gone home.

Apart from being on site alone, the main disadvantage of this is not getting the opportunity to meet and chat with the users of the facilities we work on. This means we often miss out on the chance to explain what we do and see if it could be changed or improved to better deliver a clean and safe environment for our clients and their service users.

Working in industry silos is one of the worst ways to support joined-up working in the control of infection. If we don’t understand how clients work, and they don’t understand how we operate, things can get missed.

So when Clear Trace were asked to speak at a national Radiographers conference organised by a client who is one of the largest private healthcare providers in the UK, we welcomed the opportunity to meet people who use scanning and diagnostic equipment every day.

Improving infection control through collaborative working.

The most beneficial thing about working with Radiographers at the conference, was that we gained so much in terms of mutual understanding. Specialist medical staff are always under extreme time and resource pressure. The last thing they need is another thing to think about.

But in conversation, you could see that it was becoming clear to them, how fundamental hygienic cleaning is to overall service levels. If a patient were to leave with an increased risk of infection, we would all have failed in our duty.
As more and more opportunities arise to work collaboratively across health and care services, we can all strive for better standards in making sure infection control doesn’t slip through the cracks.

If you would like us to come and talk to your teams about simple ways to improve hygiene levels, please contact us.