Ashtons’ Sustainability Achievements: A Year in Review

Environmental Initiatives

Energy Efficiency We have taken significant steps to reduce our energy consumption. Motion sensor lighting has been installed, and energy-efficient LED lighting is now used throughout the warehouse. Additionally, our head office features energy-efficient lightbulbs, all of which have contributed to a notable reduction in energy use.

Electronic Operations Our payroll, expenses, and invoice approval processes are now fully electronic. This transition has reduced our paper usage and improved overall efficiency, aligning with our commitment to minimizing our environmental footprint.

Water Consumption By switching from bottled drinking water to filtered mains-fed water, we have reduced our plastic bottle usage by 432 bottles per year. This change has also cut unnecessary delivery miles by 8,064 miles annually and saved 2,280 kilos of CO2 emissions per year.

Energy Supplier We have switched our energy supplier to EDF, Britain’s largest generator of zero-carbon electricity. This move supports our goal of using sustainable energy sources.

Packaging Reduction Through the use of temperature-controlled deliveries to our clients, we have achieved a significant reduction in passive packaging, further minimizing our environmental impact.

Social Initiatives

Client Engagement We have encouraged our clients to use electronic versions of the British National Formulary (BNF), reducing the need for printed materials and supporting our sustainability goals.

Awareness Campaigns Our commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment is demonstrated through our active promotion of various awareness campaigns, including Mental Health Awareness Month, International Women’s Day, Stress Awareness Month, and Pride Month.

Mental Health Support To support and promote mental well-being among our staff, we have introduced Mental Health First Aiders and ‘cuppa and chat’ sessions. These initiatives provide essential support and create a more connected and supportive workplace.

Future Plans

With our upcoming move to Ridgeland House, we are committed to further enhancing our sustainability efforts. Planned initiatives include:

Plastic Reduction We will continue our efforts to reduce plastic usage in our operations, building on the progress we have already made.

Water Coolers The new office will feature mains-fed water coolers, further cutting down on plastic waste and contributing to a more sustainable office environment.

Printing Policy We will implement a strict “print only if necessary” policy to reduce our printing output and conserve resources, ensuring that we remain mindful of our environmental impact.

These accomplishments reflect our dedication to making a positive impact on the environment and society. As Ashtons continues to grow and evolve, we remain committed to integrating sustainability into every aspect of our operations, ensuring that we not only meet but exceed ESG standards.

Throughout all of these initiatives, the Ashtons team has shown an unwavering support and commitment to enhancing our sustainability. Together, we are making a significant difference.

 

Read more: Ashtons News – Improving quality and compliance in medicines management

Transforming Palliative Care with Ashtons e-Works: A Comprehensive EPMA Solution

Specialist Palliative Care Features

Hospices and other facilities providing palliative care have a unique set of requirements, due to the complex nature of the care they provide. Ashtons e-Works’ range of specialist palliative care features are designed to support various intricate aspects of medication management within palliative care.

  • Syringe Driver Functionality: Supports the prescribing, administration, and monitoring of syringe drivers, ensuring quick confirmation of start and finish times, individual medicines prescribed, and the selected diluent.
  • Transdermal Products: An active patch check administration system increases visibility of key information, preventing missed applications or removals.
  • Dose Ranges and Variable Doses: Flexible prescribing features allow for complex regimens, titrations, and PRN doses, adapting to the clinical needs of each patient.
  • Infusions: Full support for the prescribing and administration of infusions.
  • Oxygen Prescribing: Purpose-built features for oxygen prescribing ensure precise and safe administration.

The Benefits of Ashtons e-Works

For Patients

The primary focus in palliative care is the well-being and comfort of patients. Ashtons e-Works significantly reduces medication errors, ensuring patients receive the correct medication at the right time. This not only enhances patient safety but also improves the overall quality of treatment and healthcare outcomes.

For Healthcare Providers

  • Doctors: With remote access for prescribing 24/7, doctors can provide timely prescriptions after consultations with on-duty nurses. The system’s clinical decision support, better access to clinical information, and flexible prescribing options enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of prescribing.
  • Nurses: The system transforms the way nurses manage medication administration, simplifying the process of identifying patients due for medication and recording details. This eliminates the need for manual searches through prescription charts, freeing up valuable time.
  • Managers: Ashtons e-Works offers significant improvements in managerial oversight with extensive reporting tools. The system’s intuitive workflow requires minimal training, increasing efficiency and reducing paper usage.
  • Regulators: The system provides a full audit trail of prescribing and administration records, supporting regulatory compliance. This comprehensive documentation leads to improvements in quality, safety, and compliance.

Real-World Impact

Since its launch, our Ashtons e-Works has been proven to reduce prescribing errors by up to 88% and medicines administration errors by up to 94%. These results led to the system winning the HTN Now Award for ‘Making an Impact’ due to the significant improvements it helps deliver to patient safety and clinical excellence, while also streamlining hospice operations.

Conclusion

At Ashtons, we understand the essential role that medicines play in symptom management and the importance of having the appropriate items in stock to respond promptly to patients’ requirements. We appreciate the need to tailor medicines to suit individual patients and can offer guidance and information to support prescribing decisions.

Ashtons e-Works is more than just an EPMA system; it is a comprehensive solution designed to meet the specific needs of hospices and other palliative care providers. By improving medication management, enhancing patient safety, and increasing operational efficiency, Ashtons e-Works stands as a pivotal tool in the delivery of high-quality palliative care.

Find out more

For more information on how Ashtons e-Works can transform your hospice’s prescribing and administration processes or to book a demonstration, please contact us or call us on 01273 224 604.

 

 

Transforming Ashtons: Introducing Our Comprehensive New Staff Benefits Package

Enhanced staff benefits to support our team

At Ashtons, we are dedicated to the wellbeing and satisfaction of our staff. Recently, we’ve undergone a transformative period where we meticulously evaluated our existing benefits package and sought direct feedback from our team. This feedback has been invaluable in helping us design an upgraded and comprehensive staff benefits package that truly reflects the needs and desires of our dedicated employees. Our ultimate goal is to fully support out team in leading happy, healthy lives, which in turn allows us to continue delivering expert services to our clients.

Financial Support

Financial stability is a cornerstone of overall wellbeing. We understand the importance of reducing financial stress, which is why we have expanded our financial benefits to support our staff across various expenses and insurances. By doing so, we aim to eliminate financial anxieties and enable our team to enjoy their earnings as they see fit. Our enhanced financial benefits are designed to support, empower, and encourage our staff, putting the power back into their hands when it comes to managing their finances.

  • Blue Light Card (Pharmacy staff): Offering discounts to our frontline clinical team.
  • Income Protection: Ensuring financial stability in times of illness.
  • Living Wage Employer: Committing to fair wages for all.
  • Life Assurance: Providing peace of mind in times of adversity.
  • Local Seven Dials Discounts: Enjoying local perks and savings.
  • Reimbursement of GPHC Fees or One Professional Body: Supporting professional development.
  • Enhanced Pension: Helping our team to plan for a secure retirement.
  • Sharia-Compliant Savings and Pension Options: Respecting diverse financial needs.
  • Spectrum Discounts: Broadening access to savings across various brands.
  • Uniform Provision: Reducing personal expenditure on work attire.

Health

Access to quality healthcare is paramount for all of us. At Ashtons we are committed to creating pathways to specialist services that cater to any health needs our staff might have. This commitment extends to our in-house offerings, ensuring everyone has access to fresh fruit to sustain their health and avoid those dreaded afternoon cravings. By providing a robust health benefits package, we are supporting our team in maintaining optimal health, empowering them to take control of their wellbeing.

  • Care Concierge: Navigating health services with ease.
  • Cancer Pathway: Offering specialised support for those affected by cancer.
  • Free Eye Tests: Ensuring clear vision and maintaining eye health.
  • Free Prescriptions: Removing barriers to necessary medication.
  • Health Cash Plan: Assisting with everyday health costs.
  • Weekly Fruit Delivery (Offices): Promoting healthy snacking options.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing benefits play an essential role in promoting a balanced work/life dynamic, as well as enhancing physical and mental health. At Ashtons, we understand that accessing help can sometimes be challenging, so we strive to remove those barriers by offering a wide range of wellbeing opportunities. Our aim is to support, empower, and encourage our team, providing them with the tools and resources they need to feel confident and supported in their personal and professional lives.

  • Annual Company Party: Celebrating achievements and fostering camaraderie.
  • Annual Conference (Clinical Roles): Enhancing professional growth and networking.
  • Birthday Day Off: Enjoying a special day of personal celebration.
  • Counselling: Offering professional support for mental health.
  • Digital/Discounted Gym: Encouraging regular physical activity.
  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): Providing confidential support and advice.
  • Flexible Working: Enabling a better work/life balance.
  • Mental Health First Aiders/Pathway: Offering immediate support and resources.
  • New Parent Gift: Celebrating the arrival of a new family member.
  • Nutrition Advice: Promoting healthy eating habits.
  • Paid Sick & Compassionate Leave: Ensuring support during difficult times.

At Ashtons, we recognise that our success is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of our staff. By investing in comprehensive benefits that support, empower, and encourage our team, we are not only enhancing their lives but also strengthening our ability to deliver outstanding services to our clients. We are proud of these enhancements and remain committed to continuously evolving our benefits to meet the needs of our valued employees.

Read more: Supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of our team – Ashtons

Read more: Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of our team

Mental Health Awareness Week

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we felt it was the right time to reflect on the work we do to support the wellbeing of the Ashtons team.

It’s good to talk about Mental Health

As part of our core commitment to the wellbeing of our team, over the last 12 months we have established a team of fully qualified Mental Health First Aiders. This team provides confidential advice and guidance to any staff member who may be in need and also run group ‘cuppa and chat’ sessions as we aim to normalise conversations around mental health.

Balance is important

Work-life balance is crucial for good mental and physical health, which is why we ensure that staff have their birthdays off, enjoy flexible working conditions, have recently increased annual leave entitlements across the business, and in the event of illness or loss, receive sick and compassionate leave pay. This autonomy over their time allows them to celebrate, recover, or remember loved ones, which is essential for maintaining good mental health.

For those starting families, we recognise that the early months can be particularly challenging. Knowing that they are supported by their team can provide great relief. We are always ready to assist and do so by providing thoughtful gifts that help ease new parents into their roles.

Providing the right assistance

We know our organisation cannot function without our dedicated staff, so we have incorporated an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that offers a plethora of resources for addressing both physical and mental health needs. This also provides access to professionals in fields such as nutrition, fitness, and counselling, as well as a medical helpline and legal support where needed, empowering our staff to take control of their wellbeing and live their lives to the fullest.

Building community in the workplace

To ensure every member of our team feels supported during their time at Ashtons, building a strong feeling of community within our organisation is extremely important. With a large remote team and three distinctly different communities within the business, bringing everyone together is sometimes a challenge, so through our Employee Engagement Team, we run regular events throughout the year, designed to bring as many people together as possible. This ranges from charity fundraising events, to themed seasonal events, such as our recent activities focused on Stress Awareness Month, as well as running a very popular book club.

The highlight of this calendar of events is our Annual Company Party. This event enables all of our remote and in-house teams to connect in person, bond over a lovely dinner, and build relationships that extend beyond the office. This fosters a network within the company where staff can find support for any issue, big or small – there will always be someone ready to assist.

 

Read more: Embracing Wellness: Reflecting on Stress Awareness Month – Ashtons

Read more: Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Celebrating Martin England: A Marathon of Achievements

Martin England Running the Brighton Marathon

Consistent Participation and Encouragement

Martin is no stranger to the marathon circuit. To date, he has completed a staggering 25 marathons, including every Brighton Marathon since its inception in 2010. His dedication has seen him cover 367 miles in Brighton alone, and he is already setting his sights on next year’s race, which will mark his 15th participation.

Back in 2019, Martin was honoured as one of only 100 runners who had participated in every Brighton Marathon up to that point. Today, he remains a member of this exclusive club, continually inspiring newcomers and veterans alike with his unwavering commitment and enthusiasm for running.

Promoting Community Through Running

His passion for the sport extends beyond personal achievement. Martin is an avid promoter of running as a community-building activity. He often offers valuable advice to aspiring runners and encourages participation in park runs and 10k events, emphasising that these gatherings foster both physical fitness and community spirit. The marathon weekend also includes family fun runs, reflecting Martin’s inclusive approach to the sport.

Through his marathon journey, Martin has not only pushed his physical limits but also raised funds for various noble causes, embodying the spirit of giving back to the community. Even as the challenges of marathon running grow, his enthusiasm remains undiminished, motivating all of us at Ashtons to dust off our running shoes and embrace the joys of running.

Health Considerations for Runners

Martin’s achievements also provide us with an opportunity to highlight important health considerations for runners, particularly regarding the use of medications. It is crucial for marathon participants to be aware of how certain medications can impact their health during intense physical activity.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, and naproxen should be used with caution. These can cause kidney issues and, in rare cases, affect bowel function when combined with strenuous exercise. Instead, paracetamol is recommended for pain relief.

Additionally, medications for conditions such as thyroid abnormalities, high blood pressure, and mood stabilisation can increase the risk of heat stroke or collapse during a marathon. Drugs used to alleviate cold symptoms, containing pseudoephedrine or oxymetazoline, may raise blood pressure and disrupt heart rhythms. Runners on these medications should consult their GPs before participating.

Hydration Strategies

Hydration is another critical factor. Both underhydration and overhydration carry health risks, with the latter potentially leading to hyponatraemia (low salt levels). Proper hydration strategies are essential for safe and effective marathon participation.

Martin England’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the positive impact of maintaining an active lifestyle. Let’s take inspiration from his journey and challenge ourselves to new heights, both in our professional lives and personal health endeavours.

Congratulations, Martin, and here’s to many more miles!

Navigating Stress

We are running a string of  1:1’s, helpful resources and calming treats to enrich staff during Stress Awareness Month.

It is crucial to shine a light on this common yet often overlooked aspect of modern life. Stress affects us all at some point, but recognising its signs, managing it effectively, and supporting others going through it can help us better understand it, build our emotional resilience, and improve our quality of life.

Identifying stress can sometimes be tricky, as its symptoms can manifest differently for everyone. However, common signs include irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension. Paying attention to these cues in ourselves and those around us is the first step in addressing stress.

When it comes to managing stress, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, incorporating stress-reducing techniques into our daily routines can make a significant difference. Regular exercise, mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, maintaining a healthy diet, and ensuring adequate sleep are all proven methods for managing stress levels. Additionally, finding hobbies or activities that bring joy and relaxation can provide much-needed respite from the pressures of daily life.

Supporting someone who is stressed requires empathy, patience, and understanding. Simply being there to listen without judgment can be immensely helpful. Encouraging them to seek professional support if needed, whether through therapy, counselling, or support groups, is also important. Offering practical assistance, such as helping with tasks or providing opportunities for relaxation, can show that you care and are willing to support them through their difficulties.

During Stress Awareness Month and beyond, we want to destigmatise discussions around stress and mental health. By raising awareness, sharing resources, and fostering a culture of openness and support, so that we can encourage a more understanding and compassionate society where everyone feels empowered to seek help when needed.

In conclusion, stress is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t have to overwhelm us. By learning to recognise its signs, implementing healthy coping mechanisms, and offering support to others, we can navigate through stressful times with resilience and strength.

Happy International Women’s Day

International Women's Day

As International Women’s Day approaches, it’s a time to celebrate the incredible achievements of women worldwide. This year, the theme “Break the Bias” resonates deeply with us at Ashtons. We take pride in our diverse team of talented individuals who contribute their expertise and passion to make a difference in healthcare.

We will be celebrating with staff this Friday with an event organized by our Employee Engagement Team.  We asked staff around the business to tell us about the women who inspire them, we had a variety of submissions from; medical professionals, famous singers, human rights lawyers, and artists. It goes to show the impact women have had in the world – we just need to shout a little louder about it!

At Ashtons, we believe in fostering an environment where women can thrive and excel in their careers. Our commitment to gender diversity extends beyond mere representation; it’s about creating opportunities for women to lead, innovate, and inspire. We are proud to say that our leadership team comprises strong, visionary women who serve as role models for the next generation of female professionals.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on some empowering statistics about women in the UK:

  1. According to the Office for National Statistics, women make up the majority of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and midwives. Their dedication and expertise are instrumental in providing quality healthcare services to communities across the country.
  2. Research by the British Medical Association shows that women are increasingly pursuing careers in specialties traditionally dominated by men, such as surgery and oncology. This trend underscores women’s capabilities and determination to break barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields.
  3. The gender pay gap in the UK medical profession is narrowing, albeit slowly. Organizations like ours are committed to promoting pay equity and ensuring that women receive equal compensation for their work.
  4. Women in the UK are also making significant strides in academic medicine, with an increasing number of female researchers and professors contributing to cutting-edge medical advancements.

At Ashtons, we are proud to stand with women everywhere in celebrating their achievements, resilience, and limitless potential. Together, let’s continue to champion gender equality and create a world where every woman has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Happy International Women’s Day!