Sales of made-in-Pidley NHS software take off

WHEN Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge starts a new cleaning contract in June, it will be using software developed in Pidley to audit the work and ensure the trust’s estates department knows what remedial work is needed.

Asckey Data Services Limited, which operates out of Church End farm in Pidley, started development of its ‘fmfirst-cleaning’ software only last December. The package was launched last week, and has already been sold to an NHS trust in Bournemouth, with further orders expected any day from Guy’s Hospital, London, and the Heartlands trust, covering four hospitals in the West Midlands, in addition to Addenbrooke’s.

An additional advantage of the Asckey software, according to commercial director Bernard Hill, is that after more than 20 years’ working with the NHS, the company has secure access to the health service’s dedicated secure data network, so upgrades can be applied automatically.

“In the past, suppliers would provide upgrades on CD. The hospital’s IT department would not want to know, so they were never installed,” he told The Hunts Post. “We can just log in and install it, and they get it immediately.”

The software derives from the need to audit performance against the requirements of the National Specification for Cleanliness 2007, which describe the level and frequency of cleaning various patient environments to reduce the likelihood of hospital-acquired infection.

Not only does it provide an audit trail for the work, but it can be hooked up to the estates department so that remedial work the cleaners cannot do – for example, because it would involve working at height – does not get missed. Asckey has companion facilities management software developed for NHS hospitals.

The new software has been developed in the NHS environment, in Cambridge, Heartlands, Guy’s and St Thomas’s, in London.

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“The Addenbrooke’s of this world have been extremely impressed, even without using the product in anger,” Mr Hill said.

“About 80 per cent of our business is with the NHS – and we’re good at it.”

As well as developing software, the company has a growing business hosting third-party access to the secure NHS data network.