Case studies

derbyshire community health service

Derbyshire Community Health Service NHS Foundation Trust


Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust is a diverse healthcare provider, offering support to over 4,000 patients every day. Within the Trust there are 11 community hospitals and more than 30 health centres, run by over 4,500 staff delivering healthcare services to the population of Derbyshire.

One team within this organisation is the 0-19 Children’s Community Services department. This is a centralised department that acts as a bridge between parents and children and the NHS health services available to them. The department sends out thousands of communications each year, ranging from letters, texts and face to face appointments with a team of dedicated staff on hand to help.

The challenge

As the new school year was fast approaching, the 0-19 Children Community Services department began preparing to send communications that offered support and guidance to parents ahead of the new school year, as well as providing key information on what they could expect within the health and school health services. Formerly managed on a face-to-face basis, this process needed to be adapted due to Covid-19 and letters were seen to be more appropriate.

The letters acted as a central touch point for parents, directing them to additional services if required.

Previously when sending letters, the process was managed in house with staff printing, folding and stuffing envelopes with multiple trips to the mail room for dispatch. But with over 8,000 school readiness support letters scheduled for dispatch and staff working across multiple locations due to Covid-19 the department required an alternative solution for this process.

Already working with Derbyshire Community Health Service NHS Foundation Trust in a different department, CFH Docmail were recommended to the 0-19 Children Community Services department as a trustworthy, secure communication provider that would be able to manage and send their school readiness support letters.


Working closely with Shelley Hawkins, Business Development Manager of CFH Docmail, the department’s communication requirements were scoped out and Docmail, the hybrid mail solution of CFH was recommended.

Docmail is the self-managed hybrid mail solution that allows users to send printed communication directly to the end patient all from their PC or desktop. The solution is secure, easy to use and provides a flexible, online alternative to sending patient communications.

During the onboarding process Shelley was on hand to answer any questions and ensure smooth adoption of the services within the department, offering assistance wherever needed.

Training was supplied to the department by Serena Schofield, Client Relationship Manager at CFH Docmail, providing a complete overview of the Docmail solution including a step-by-step guide for placing mailings. The training provided the chance to ask any questions about the system and see first-hand how mailings are produced. This not only gave the department a direct point of contact for assistance, but built on the relationship held between the two organisations.

Additional support is also offered by the Docmail support team, who are available via phone and email to provide that helping hand when required. No question is too big or too small, with the team acting as an extension to the Trust’s department when sending patient communications.

The system was utilised from both office based and remote working locations, allowing the department’s communications to be sent without delay. The department simply upload their letters and their address list and clicked submit, with the letters being despatched the very next day.

From recommendation to implementation and sending the very first communications took only four weeks. This not only provided the department with a secure way of communicating but changed the way they were managing bulk communications instantly.

The system has been used to send over 8,000 school readiness letters, with these being spilt into smaller mailings for management purposes. The sending of the letters not only promoted the services available but directed those who needed further assistance to the correct point of contact.

The system allowed the letters to be dispatched on particular days, to meet the department’s requirements. Docmail was managed in this instance by a single contact within the department, ensuring that all communications were sent when required and without delays.

Key learnings and results

By utilising Docmail, the 0-19 department were able to manage, print and send patient communications instantly, saving both time and money in comparison to the previous in-house method. The Royal Mail address validation service, which is part of the Docmail solution, ensured that the most cost-effective method of sending letters was applied every time.

The efficient process streamlined department communications with easy-to-follow dashboard reporting as well as providing the flexibility to manage this in a way that suits them best.

The hardest part of the whole process was getting the NHS funds signed off.

The 0-19 department are now looking to adopt the Docmail Print Driver, (the software application that replaces your office printer) which will allow the Trust to work within their clinical system and report all communication touch points back to the patient record as well as rollout the service where possible.

Those involved in the process recommend the service to other departments and organisations, as well as the training and additional support available.

CFH Docmail and Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trusts’ relationship has grown from strength to strength, with CFH being the recognised communication provider that has become a partner and much more.

healthcare mailings

With a huge task to mail out over 8000 letters Derbyshire wide we approached Docmail as a company. They trained and supported us throughout the whole process from helping to upload the document and mailing lists, to giving guidance and direction for the best turnaround in regard to the mailing out of these documents. The staff were always on call by either email or telephone when we had an issue or question to be resolved. Felt supported all the way! Thank you.

Hybrid Mail

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