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Birmingham's newest hospital turns to super concentrates

Published 5th December, 2012 by Neil Nixon

Birmingham's newest hospital turns to super concentrates

The new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham is using super concentrate SmartDose products from Sealed Air’s Diversey business to its support daily building care cleaning operations. The hospital chose SmartDose because it provides superior performance, is easy to use, portable and required no installation.

“The products we selected give an excellent result,” said Simon Sharpe, facilities manager, housekeeping services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. “They complemented our cleaning methods and were easily accepted by all our staff who changed over with little difficulty to this new system with some excellent support from Diversey.”

Opened in June 2010, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) is managed by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. It has over 1200 beds and is currently the largest acute and in-patient hospital in a single building in the UK. The £545 million building was designed and built to provide some of the most advanced, efficient and sustainable services anywhere in the world. Each ward accommodates 36 patients and has a semi-circular design with five four-bed rooms on the inside and 16 single-bed rooms on the outside of a central corridor. Every room has its own en-suite washroom and this effectively quadrupled the number of toilets compared with the hospital it replaced.

The wards are designed for efficient building care. Each has a kitchen and a cleaning room near its entrance which are shared with the adjacent ward along with a waste disposal room located at the opposite end of the corridor. The layout promotes one-way flows so that staff do not need to return to an area they have cleaned as they move from room to room. Separate service lifts are used to deliver food and supplies and to take away used and dirty items and equipment. Each pair of wards has its own staff, cleaning tools and equipment to reduce the risk of cross-contamination between areas. The configuration helps the hospital achieve the highest possible standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

One of the challenges during the commissioning of the hospital was to transfer the cleaning team of 390 from other Trust sites and ensure they had the tools and equipment to cover a larger area with more facilities. Cleaning operations continue around the clock in critical and busy areas although the majority of the work takes place during daytime.

“Moving into the new building presented lots of challenges, going from old fashioned ward layouts to new single occupancy and four-bed rooms with en-suite toilets and washrooms,” said Simon Sharpe. “We needed cleaning products that were simple to use, promoted productivity and provided excellent results.”

The hospital wanted to avoid ready-to-use or bulk chemicals and introduce sustainable concentrated products that could be prepared and dispensed at ward level. Its aim was to reduce on-site transport and handling costs and remove the need for staff to visit remote or centralised preparation facilities.

“We wanted to maximise staff cleaning time to maintain and improve standards but with the same number of people,” continued Sharpe.

The Trust had used Diversey products at its other sites and originally considered a dilution control system. As the opening date approached, however, the hospital recognised that this was not quite right for its particular application because of the installation work and space needed in the cleaning rooms.

“With days to go we turned to Diversey who proposed SmartDose, which had not been launched into the UK at the time,” said Sharpe. “It allowed us to have a cost effective and quality product that we could easily distribute around a large site. Our aim was for portability and simple deployment and it was only later when we looked at the costs that we realised the benefits of dosing on the wards rather than using other products. It provides us with cost predictability and control.”

The hospital evaluated and introduced the product before it was generally available in the market or listed in the NHS catalogue and it was one of the first sites in the UK to take delivery. To fill the short gap before production commenced Diversey provided ready-to-use products. SmartDose is now used on all wards and throughout the hospital except for very high risk areas such as the ICU which are cleaned with chlorine based disinfectants.

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