Issue Date: 11 October 2012
BIRMINGHAM’S NEWEST HOSPITAL TURNS TO SUPER CONCENTRATES
SmartDose optimizes sustainability with portability, ease of use and no installation
The new Queen Elizabeth Hospital 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,” says 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,” says 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,” says Simon 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,” says Simon Sharpe. “It allowed us to have a cost effective and quality product that we could easily distribute around a large site.”
SmartDose is available with many Diversey super concentrated building care products, including a number which are EU Flower sustainability-certified. The hospital selected just three products covering all daily building care applications, simplifying supply chain processes. Floors are cleaned with mops and buckets using the low foaming and neutral SmartDose Jontec 300. All other hard surfaces are cleaned with SmartDose Multiuso, a multipurpose product which can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including glass, also dosed into buckets. Washrooms and toilets are cleaned SmartDose Sani Cid, a mildly acidic general washroom cleaner that helps prevent lime scale. This is dosed into cleaning bottles used for toilet bowls and other sanitary areas.
Users select one of two SmartDose dosage levels, depending on whether a bucket or bottle is used, by pushing the patented head mechanism down and turning it to the side indicated by simple icons. The head is pulled upwards to prime the integral pump and pressed down to always deliver a precise amount of super concentrate. The self-contained and closed mechanism is more accurate than other types of dosing bottle and easier to use, more consistent and safer than traditional glug mixing or pelican pump dispensers. Consistency of solution ensures optimum completion times with no need to repeat a task.
“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,” says Simon Sharpe. “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.
“We didn’t see anything in the NHS Catalogue that met our criteria, except for ready-to-use products, until SmartDose,” says Simon Sharpe.
The ability to introduce SmartDose without the need to install dosing or dilution control equipment and a dedicated water connection in the cleaning room was a significant benefit for QEHB. Instead, buckets or bottles are be filled using the normal tap in the cleaning room. This simplified deployment and avoided using precious space that can be better used for other tasks.
The compact and ergonomic SmartDose container is easy to use and carry. It has an integrated carry handle and weighs around 1.5kg when full, much less than a five litre bulk container. More containers can be handled on the trolleys used to deliver supplies such as hand towels and toilet paper to the ward cleaning rooms. Containers also take up less shelf or storage space. Each 1.4 litre container of SmartDose Multiuso, for example, provides as much cleaning solution as two five-litre containers of standard concentrates.
“It’s a nice size to distribute, not too bulky and not too heavy” says Simon Sharpe. “It does not put the staff at risk.”
The simplicity of SmartDose means training requirements were reduced. Diversey’s account manager (Amanda) visited QEHB to provide product training to key staff such as supervisors and team leaders at ward and departmental level. The hospital adopted the appropriate cleaning procedures into its own training programmes which also incorporate element of BICSc and conform with NHS Cleaning Manual standards. Training is designed to ensure staff understand how to clean, what is needed and how to use the products.
“It’s far easier to use than the other systems we’ve seen,” says Simon Sharpe. “The product does what we want and the staff like it.”
Like all super concentres SmartDose promotes sustainability. Water is added at the point of use rather than during manufacture. This removes the need to needlessly transport water and utilises less packaging materials. Overall handling, transport and waste recycling costs are all reduced. More generally, the simplicity of SmartDose makes it ideal for applications with large cleaning teams and when rapid deployment is essential. Available training time can be dedicated to cleaning processes and value added activities rather than learning how to prepare solutions.
QEHB uses other products from the extensive Diversey range. This includes a fleet of five TASKI by Diversey swingo XP ride-on scrubber driers that clean the floors throughout the building. These also use Jontec floor care products which are prepared using the J-Flex dilution control platform installed in a centralised machine room. Diversey also supplied anti-static products for cleaning floors and hard surfaces in the hospital entrance atrium where self-service check-in kiosks are in use.