TwinBin NHS Case Study


Karina Maxwell, Head of Supplies, and Louise Allen, Supplies Assistant, are responsible for the logistics, procurement and control of patient ward consumables used at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

These items range from toothbrushes and combs to needles and catheters. All Items that are required day-to-day by all members of staff from nurses to doctors to treat and aid patients.

Trying to maintain any sort of control was becoming a daily torment for Louise and Karina. Using open boxes for each product item, they found that products were often being misplaced by members of staff, the stores were cluttered and disorderly, people were taking items from the wrong boxes and stock-outs were commonplace.

This also caused nurses to be spending more time searching and calling for items than was necessary.

To counteract the stock outs, overloading the bins with more stock than was necessary was commonplace. In consequence, this raised the value of stocks on the ward and money was being lost by the NHS. Through a search on the internet, Karina and Louise discovered a unique and innovative stock control system called the TwinBin.

Hurst Green Plastics Ltd unique and patented kanban two-bin system the TwinBin eradicates all the problems associated with stock control. By incorporating a reserve chamber for stock, there is reduced stock outs as the automatic Flag “pops” up to indicate when you should re-order.

All bins close shut again eradicating cross-contamination of products and also preventing any environmental contamination which can occur on a hospital ward such as an MRSA outbreak for example. The bins can even be moulded in an anti-microbial agent in the plastic, killing all bacteria for the life of the product.

After a tour around the modern British Aerospace (BAE) factory at Samlesbury where Hurst Green Plastics have completely furnished with their groundbreaking TwinBin dispensers, Karina and Louise wanted to trial the system on the Urology ward at North Tees.

Almost 500 products were removed from the old, open bins and placed into the new TwinBin system for a period of 2 months, and the benefits were recorded.

Special bespoke designs were made to dispense unusual items such as the many different shapes of catheters, gloves and pulp items.

Stock levels, stock outs, time taken to maintain stock, time wasted by nurses and doctors was all significantly reduced. The stores area was much cleaner, tidier and it was easy to see the stock level of all parts.

Karina Maxwell said, “I am very impressed with the TwinBins for topping up purposes. We have found that we save time topping up because we only have to look for the Flag and not check every bin. The wards are always tidy becuase we do not put full boxes on ward if not needed. We have achieved a saving of £13,667 for the year for the one ward we trialled. We are hoping to roll out in the near future!”

Following the successful trial, Karina Maxwell put forward a business case to purchase the TwinBin goods. After an initial outlay of £7,900, Karina calculated that the NHS would save at least £13,667 after just twelve months, giving a payback period of just 30 weeks!