Over the last 2 years there has been increased focus on the potential infection dangers associated with water supply and hospital fittings.
Over the last 2 years there has been increased focus on the potential infection dangers associated with water supply and hospital fittings. In particular there has been heightened awareness of the presence of pseudomonas aeruginosa that has been found on taps – Which is further “exacerbated by devices fitted to the tap outlet such as flow straighteners” (HTM04-01 addendum); and there has been concerns over the danger of legionella bacteria coming from “the in coming water supply” where “there is a failure of the recommended control measures (e.g. maintenance of temperatures”)
Publications such as the HTM04-01 addendum and the more recent HSG 274 have provided potential solutions to reducing risk including the removal, cleaning or replacement of flow straighteners; the design of taps that can be readily dismantled for disinfection; and risk assessments in critical care areas as to the need for TMV3 thermostats…the pay off between maintaining high water temperatures to help kill bacteria vs the danger of scalding.
Clearly reducing the risks of infection is complicated and will vary according to individual circumstances and local conditions and there is not 1 solution that will solve the problem. As a manufacturer of hospital fittings, Armitage Shanks continually follows current thinking and takes advice from experts in the field as to how we can provide taps and mixers that best suit individual infection control regimes.
Consequently over the last 8 years we have seen our Markwik range radically change 3 times as it evolves to complement current thinking. Our place is to listen to experts’ recommendations, follow the latest thinking and provide a product range that can be as flexible as possible to suit different hygiene regimes.
More recently we have introduced a number of new features that address the latest concerns. To meet the danger of bacteria build up around the tap spout we have removed the flow straightener altogether and developed an anti microbial copper lined spout (BioGuard) that has a smooth interior that avoids biofilm build up and gives less opportunity for bacteria to colonise.
Markwik 21 is now easy to dismantle. The fittings can be quickly removed from the wall for disinfection or the spout removed for autoclaving.
There is an electronic range of fittings that can be programmed to automatically operate over a given time period of under use to ensure water is kept moving; and there is a built in system that allows maintenance engineers to flush both the hot and cold inlets with very hot water.
We strongly advocate the use of thermostats wherever possible in line with Department of Health guidelines. Markwik fittings come with TMV3 thermostats that are integrated into the tap as close as possible to the outlet. This reduces the risk of dead leg bacteria build up whilst ensuring that every fitting is safe to use. As a manufacturer we want to eliminate the danger of scalding and have welcomed the reduction in accidents that have resulted in greater thermostat installation.
Markwik 21 has been designed to provide choice and flexibility for hospitals and can be used as an additional tool to fight water born infection. We never stay still and are already designing the next generation of fittings as part of a planned evolution to move with the latest thinking in infection control.