Among our expertise in complex multi-site security, Oracle Vision specialises in supporting healthcare organisations to keep their premises and people safe. In this case study, we look at how Oracle Vision supported a large Yorkshire NHS Trust using a bespoke approach for their needs and our deep understanding of healthcare operations.
Access Control on a massive scale
The NHS Trusts we support face the same issues. Their hospitals are huge buildings, spread out over large areas, with areas entirely open to the public often right next to very high security zones. Access control plays a critical role in hospital security, but with 1,000+ doors inside one building, implementing and vitally, maintaining the access control system can be problematic.
Our client, a large Yorkshire NHS Trust, came to us with a very specific issue. They had installed access control onto doors, at great cost, but they were still experiencing security breaches. They asked Oracle Vision to investigate the issue and remedy it, sharpish.
A hidden problem
Access control is very good at keeping unwanted people out, but owners must consider how those inside can escape in the event of an emergency, such as a fire. Usually, an access control system has a break glass that can be used to release the lock. The problem is that many access control installers fail to fit any sort of monitor to flag that the door is unlocked once the emergency has passed. Or a system that notifies someone if a door has been held open for another reason. People approach the door as normal, swipe their card, it bleeps and opens as normal, so you pass through, not realising the door was unlocked all along. It can stay unlocked for months, presenting a real security risk.
In such a huge site, it isn’t practical to have security guards or risk assessment officers testing every door, every day. The system is only as up-to-date as the last person who used it. So what can this NHS Trust do to ensure they protect their people, premises and assets?
Here at Oracle Vision, we like to make sure customers have a multi-pronged approach so they’re aware when doors are breached. At a simple level, we use a different style of ’quick release break glass unit so it’s easier to see when the access control door is working as it’s meant to.
Beyond the physical equipment, we also recommended software that displays and alerts any change of status, such as when the door us unlocked. It’s a more proactive approach – we keep an eye on the system and bring any issues to our customer’s attention. We take care of the access control system’s health, so the hospital can concentrate on their patients.
A coupled approach: integrating access control with CCTV
With any client, we want to maximise the potential of their security software – these systems are designed to be integrated to get the most out of them. The challenge is making sure your systems are compatible. Oracle Vision is expert in making that happen – we have experience linking some of the best providers out there.
To help our NHS Trust get an immediate view of what’s happening at each of their doors, we coupled their access control system with CCTV. That way, when the software signalled a breach, they can visually verify what’s going on straight away, without having to physically trek to that part of the hospital.
With an access control system that works properly, ultimately you have a far more secure hospital. Knowing that your access control system will tell you if there’s an issue, and that it can be resolved swiftly, will give your operations team confidence. What’s more, an instant response that draws your eye to an issue in real time gives you a much better workflow compared to searching for an event when you’re reacting to an issue.
Fundamentally, these solutions are protecting people properly. The hospital, which by its nature must be open to the public yet closed in certain areas, becomes a safer environment. The NHS Trust is getting more from their investment in security systems, because they’re operating properly, efficiently and to their fullest potential. That’s certainly something we’re proud to celebrate.