Mobile facilities specialist pioneers new approach in effort to slash hospital waiting times and address COVID-19 backlog
Vanguard Healthcare Solutions is pioneering the use of purified water systems in its mobile sterile services and endoscopy units
Hospitals are under increased pressure to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.
And increased numbers, and types, of operations are putting more pressure on Central Sterile Services Departments (CSSDs) and Endoscopy Decontamination Units (EDUs).
To add to this burden, many of these departments are struggling with limited space and equipment that is coming to the end of its natural life.
In the battle to keep waiting lists under control, many hospitals are turning to temporary, modular, and mobile units, both to continue services during refurbishment, and to run alongside existing departments to reduce waiting lists.
And Vanguard Healthcare Solutions is pioneering this technology, providing complete mobile CSSDs and EDUs powered by Envirogen Group’s purified water solutions.
Vanguard’s mobile and modular CSSDs and EDUs are used in hospitals across the UK and Europe, providing reliable, temporary solutions to meet the exacting regulatory standards.
“Hospitals rent our units to meet a range of requirements,” explains Steven Peak, chief operating officer at Vanguard Healthcare Solutions.
“Many internal EDUs and CSSDs are reaching the end of their natural life and need upgrading.
“And, for a large hospital, this can take upwards of six months.
“But the demand for operations and clinical investigation doesn’t stop while the refurbishment or construction takes place.
“So, rather than place strain on other departments, or temporarily relocate complex equipment, hospitals are choosing to invest in our temporary mobile units.
“These units are also running alongside in-house departments to reduce long waiting times, and this is particularly important now as hospitals deal with the backlog of suspended services due to COVID-19.”
NHS England data shows that 52.6% of patients waited six weeks or more for their endoscopy procedures in October 2020 versus 9.3% in October 2019.
And many endoscopy departments were temporarily closed to reallocate ventilators, other vital equipment and staff, leaving a backlog of procedures.
So increased reprocessing capacity is now needed in many healthcare settings to cope with the greater demand for endoscopy as the waiting lists are cleared.
Purified water streams are essential for both CSSDs and ERUs with the UK having the highest water quality standards in the world when it comes to supplying surgical cleaning facilities.
Expensive endoscopes need delicate treatment and since automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) need to operate at low temperatures, high-purity water is needed to achieve sterile standards.
Envirogen works with Vanguard to provide complete water purification solutions for its mobile CSSDs and EDUs.
Allan Wigglesworth, healthcare market manager at Envirogen, explains: “We’ve worked in the healthcare sector for decades, providing high-quality water streams for AERs, but also for wider sterile services departments and laboratories.
Purified water streams are essential for both CSSDs and ERUs with the UK having the highest water quality standards in the world when it comes to supplying surgical cleaning facilities
“We install main hospital, permanent installations, as well as mobile and temporary units, designed by the hospital or using third-party suppliers such as Vanguard.
The systems installed for Vanguard include a combination of carbon filters, high-efficiency reverse osmosis membranes, inline endotoxin retention ultra-filters, and ultraviolet sterilisation, along with automated thermal sanitisation cycles.
“This ensures that our EndoTherm units provide high-quality water that meets the Government’s requirements, including HTM01-06, HTM01-01 and ISO15883, as well as the Australian equivalent AS/NZ 4187.
“Our systems are recommended by AER, washer and autoclave manufacturers, thanks to their compatibility, straightforward operation and slim design.
“And, although we size each EndoTherm to the requirements at each site, the EndoTherm Mini is a very-popular solution for Vanguard mobile units due to its slim profile.
At only 550mm wide and 600mm deep, ours is the most-compact purification system on the market, and the straightforward touchscreen operation makes it one of the simplest to use, too.”
Envirogen also provides an extensive range of pre-treatment water solutions, such as water softeners, to protect EndoTherm systems, as well as the installation of ring main connections.
And each EndoTherm is installed and commissioned in a matter of days, thanks to the skid-mounted design, ensuring new endoscopy reprocessing/sterile services capacity is delivered as quickly as possible.
“Our mobile CSSDs and EDUs are centred on flexibility,” said Peak.
“That’s one of the reasons we chose Envirogen. The EndoTherm has been tried and tested in hospitals across the world and each one is tailored to the exact requirements of that mobile solution.
“Envirogen engineers carry out regular preventative maintenance to ensure a continuous supply of purified water that meets the most-exacting standards.
“We have 24/7 emergency technical support and engineers are guaranteed to be on-site in eight hours, should our clients have any issues.
This nationwide network of expert engineers means that our clients have a rapid response to breakdown calls so that critical applications can be restored as a matter of urgency.”
“Our temporary solutions often turn into permanent relationships,” adds Wigglesworth.
“Many units become part of the fabric of the hospital and facilities managers often go on to purchase more-permanent water purification solutions in-house.”