Ethitec - delivering the promise of IT
Case Studies
To give a more in-depth view of the impact of our software, we have curated a number of case studies giving the end user perspective, along with guides on how to get the best out of Ethitec systems.

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British Red Cross

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The Challenge
The British Red Cross is known throughout the world as one of the most active members of the Red Cross movement. As a leading UK charity with 40,000 members, it provides many essential services in local communities across the UK.

Not least of these is its Community Equipment Stores, which provide short-term loans of equipment such as wheelchairs, walking frames and beds from centralised Red Cross outlets. Since 1948 this facility has complemented the work of the NHS and social services by making disabled living equipment available that enhances clients' quality of life.

However, by 1990 the management of an increasingly complex loans system by paper records was proving difficult to maintain. Upon winning a large contract for the NHS and social services in Leicester City, Leicestershire, and Rutland, the British Red Cross decided that the provision and organisation of its equipment loans service needed a complete overhaul to bring the department up to date with the benefits of the electronic office.

The Red Cross recognised that they required a software solution to transform the efficiency of the loans system and enable users to successfully manage a vast quantity of equipment, whilst providing the best care for clients.

The Solution
The Red Cross turned to Ethitec, a provider of innovative IT solutions, for the creation of an equipment loans management system. Taking time to understand the operational needs of the British Red Cross Medical Aid Department in Leicester, Ethitec began to develop a bespoke solution which would provide users with a complete equipment management system.

The result was the creation of a product that has become the market leader for equipment loans management - Ethitec's ELMS (Equipment Loans Management System). Designed to perform a variety of functions including ordering, stock management, service tracking, purchasing and distribution, the sophisticated, multi-user system provided support for the provision of medical aid equipment to people living in the community.

Ethitec created an IT system that reflects two key user concepts: keeping track of equipment including making sure it comes back, and providing all relevant legislative and performance indicator information as a by-product of normal use. In developing a high quality system that stored all relevant patient and equipment information, Ethitec provided a solution that gave the British Red Cross Community Equipment Service the ability to run a full servicing equipment loans store.

The Benefits
National Customer Care Manager for the British Red Cross, Matt Davis commented: "In working with Ethitec to create a flexible system that meets the charity's needs, the Red Cross has engaged in a collaborative approach to the solution's ongoing development. As minor improvements are regularly introduced, we have found that the clients and users alike are benefiting from consistent quality."

The most recent update to the system, ELMS2, provides users with a new web-enabled version of the original system and allows the British Red Cross to provide clients and referrers with benefits such as reduced waiting times and on-line ordering. Functions of the system include:

  • An Online Access Module giving each Red Cross site the ability to undertake tasks, whether working at the store or out in the community.
  • The online ability to search for and add clients, place orders for equipment and receive email notification once an order status has changed.
  • Online stock control and monitoring facilities to ensure that relevant information on waiting lists and item usage is easily available.

For the Leicester Health Authority and Social Services, outsourcing the facility to the British Red Cross enabled a simplified and more efficient process which most importantly, provided a similar service to the client.

The charity's ability to effectively manage its equipment loans service with the assistance of ELMS, has been reflected by recognition from the Department of Health's Integrated Community Equipment Services Initiative. The government-funded initiative has awarded nine of the twelve Red Cross centres as ‘Centres of Excellence' for their contribution to providing a modernised and integrated service for patients.

In building upon its existing reputation for providing excellent client care, the Red Cross aims to be the largest supplier of community equipment loans in the UK. ELMS2 will play an essential role in this drive as the charity looks to increase the use of the innovative system across more UK sites.

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