London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

The challenge

Two hospitals covering 46,027 sqm (495,432 sqft)

Poor / no indoor mobile coverage for hospital staff and patients

Implementing the solution during the COVID-19 outbreak

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWUH) includes Northwick Park Hospital and Central Middlesex Hospital. There were a number of buildings at each hospital that had patchy or no mobile coverage.

Mobile communication became of particular importance during the COVID-19 outbreak, with Northwick Park Hospital being particularly hard-hit.

Key requirements for mobile technology included:

  • Accessing digital patient records on tablets and mobile phones (particularly important for outpatients to specialist units such as diabetes management clinics and maternity services)
  • Communication between staff (especially those on emergency call)
  • Communication between patients and their next of kin (something that rapidly became a priority as coronavirus prohibited visitors to wards)
  • Organisation and digital planning (a rising number of Nurses now use mobile devices to plan rotas and patient visits)
  • The initial requirement was to provide coverage on a single network but following an initial single network deployment this was expanded to cover all four UK mobile networks.

The solution

LNWUH approached Cisilion as a leading systems integrator to see if they had a solution to their in-building mobile coverage problems. Cisilion worked with UCtel, a Cel-Fi partner, who proposed a Cel-Fi QUATRA solution.

Due to the size and shapes of the building at the two hospitals, two different solutions were proposed.

For Northwick Park Hospital, one building (6,117sqm or 65,843sqft) required two QUATRA systems per network and a second building (3,410sqm or 36,706sqft) needed one QUATRA system per network to provide the coverage needed. The Central Middlesex Hospital building covered a much larger area with 36,500 sqm split over the three floors. In this case a hybrid QUATRA and passive DAS solution with twelve systems in total were used to balance coverage, performance and cost.

The installation

During initial surveys, suitable locations were identified on the roofs of each of the buildings for the donor antennas and a range of antennas were tested to ensure the best signal was captured from each network.

Cabling was installed through the buildings with CAT-6 throughout for the full QUATRA solution and CAT-6 and COAX cabling for the passive DAS segments. The CU’s were installed below the ceiling tiles and the passive antennas above the ceilings for neatness.

Prior to the installation, there was patchy coverage on some networks and no coverage at all on any network in some areas.

Post-installation surveys and walk tests showed the impact that the solution had, with full 4G coverage throughout and the ability to hold video calls whilst walking the entire building.

Central Middlesex Hospital installation (36,500m² or around 400,000ft²)

The result

The hospital now has full mobile coverage in the areas where they need it to support clinicians and patients. The solution is monitored and supported via a managed service from Cisilion and UCtel, ensuring that coverage is maintained and any incidents or changes in the environment are quickly addressed.