About NHS Lothian

NHS Lothian provides a comprehensive range of primary, community-based and acute hospital services for the second largest residential population in Scotland, approximately 800,000 people. IT services at NHS Lothian are provided by eHealth with staff based at sites across Edinburgh and Livingston. The eHealth service desk team has 25 members supporting 32,000 customers between 200 different sites. On average they respond to 12,000 telephone and 2,000 self-service requests and incidents per month.

The vision of NHS Lothian is that “by 2020 everyone is able to live longer healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting” through integrated health and social care. All eHealth staff are aligned with the shared vision that patient care is the highest priority. This was made evident to SDI’s Service Desk Certification (SDC) auditors when they first visited to assess the NHS Lothian service desk team:

“The service desk is well thought of by the customer base at all levels and is highly valued for its helpfulness and commitment.”
Lynne Nash, Auditor, Service Desk Institute.


The Challenge

NHS Lothian had their first Service Desk Certification Audit in November 2016. They were motivated and well prepared for their Certification journey, but knew the biggest challenge would be the amount of change which would be required in order to transform their service, to provide the best care possible for their patients.

“Working for an NHS Organisation is all about the patient and patient-centred care. When SDI accreditation was first suggested, the buy-in from management and the team was never in question. Designing and implementing the new processes and ensuring they would be followed was the biggest challenge – nobody likes change!”
Paul Turner, Team Leader eHealth Service Desk, NHS Lothian.

One of the most significant service transformations which NHS Lothian carried out was the implementation of self-service. The team knew it would require an enormous amount of work to ensure that their self-service portal was fit for purpose and knew that good communication and active involvement were key to its successful implementation. It was evident to the team that the benefits of a self-service portal to the customer would be significant, which encouraged and motivated them from the outset.

“Bringing the whole service desk team into the project and giving them a voice to suggest ideas allowed them to take real ownership, it gave them a sense of achievement and cause for celebration for the success which they were all a part of.”
Paul Turner, Team Leader eHealth Service Desk, NHS Lothian.


The Results

NHS Lothian are using AssystNet for their self-service portal with up to 17% of interactions now coming via that channel, a number which is still increasing. Inside 18 months, self-service usage increased 4-fold, and is currently forecasted to increase 6- fold by the end of 2018. Some of the other changes which have come as a result of being in the Service Desk Certification programme have included a new reporting system which provides an on-going state of play of the service. This has organised and restructured the way the team work to improve efficiencies as well as enabling them to both set and exceed KPI’s above and beyond their SLA. They now also have a bespoke webpage for customers built and maintained by the service desk team and an average Customer Satisfaction Level of 95.6%.


Continual Service Improvement

A number of changes have been made since their first Service Desk Assessment back in February 2016 and these changes continue to serve the team and their customers well. Recently the NHS Lothian service desk team had to invoke their new business continuity plan for a period of 5 hours, which they found worked very well and allowed them to serve customers as usual with minimal interruption. Further improvements to the self-service portal to  enhance usability were made as a direct result of customer feedback about telephone wait times and model incidents. The changes were developed to reduce average call duration which has been very successful.

The service desk team at NHS Lothian have been progressing well in their Certification journey despite ongoing challenges for public sector services and hold a 2 star proactive Certified Service Desk status. They have come a long way since first starting the SDC programme and their passion for excellent customer care continues to fuel their service improvement journey.

“Our vision statement to our customers is simply ‘Supporting You, Supporting Care’ something that our service desk has at the heart of everything we do.”
Paul Turner, Team Leader eHealth Service Desk, NHS Lothian.

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