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Air Traffic Controllers are supporting the NHS

23rd July, 2020: Air traffic controllers are helping Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) fit its 1,800 healthcare staff with FFP3 face masks.

NHS Staff during face mask fit testing
NHS staff during face mask fit testing

NCH&C increased its stock of face masks following the outbreak of COVID-19, and had to ensure, using specialist equipment, that they fitted healthcare staff correctly.

This is a complex task, involving vast quantities of data, but it is essential for the trust’s healthcare staff, who serve a population of more than 900,000 people across Norfolk.

Chris Kimber, Air Traffic Services Assistant, carrying out daily check of the test equipment

Chris Kimber, in his main profession as an Air Traffic Services Assistant with Air Navigation Solutions (ANSL), has been volunteering at the trust by fitting healthcare staff with masks throughout the pandemic, ensuring everyone gets tested and fitted as quickly as possible.  Bringing together his experience of mask fitting with expertise from his day-job at Gatwick airport, Chris suggested that data management techniques deployed in air traffic control could be used to speed up mask fitting checks.

ANSL’s Business Insights Lead Emma Hawksworth, a colleague Chris works with closely in the office, agreed to support and devised a tool that collects and analyses the trust’s mask fitting data at high speed.

Adoption of the tool by the trust has meant that its Infection Prevention & Control team can obtain the critical data they require in a matter of minutes.

NCH&C’s Head of Infection Prevention & Control, Beth Kimber said: “This tool has helped us to carry out facemask fit-testing as efficiently as possible.

NHS Staff during face mask fit testing
Emma Hawksworth, Business Insights Lead, with the tool devised for the NHS

“It has freed up a huge amount of my team’s time for other vital work.”

Commercial Director at ANSL, Caroline Cauvin said: “It’s very rewarding to see Emma and Chris assist NCH&C with their mask fitting challenges and helping to fight the battle against COVID-19.”

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