Evaluating water processes for better patient healthcare

Hospitals rely on a constant stream of high purity water for the decontamination of equipment to help prevent the spread of resistant pathogens and to ensure the longevity of essential endoscopes and medical instruments. However, underfunded – with a maintenance backlog of over six billion pounds, process water treatment, if not properly maintained, can be an extremely costly expenditure for the NHS. 

Since 2013/2014 the maintenance backlog for the NHS has risen by over two billion pounds with most of this backlog classified as “high” and “significant” risk. This has occurred during a period where funding has been transferred from the NHS capital budget to the revenue budget to funding front line services. The current maintenance backlog is now larger than the annual capital budget with the cost to eliminate the “high” and “significant” risk backlog estimated at three billion pounds.

With the NHS experiencing such a stark deficit it is vital to ensure that where investments can be made to maintain or replace high risk estate (areas where repairs must be addressed with urgent priority in order to prevent catastrophic failure, major disruption to clinical services or deficiencies in safety liable to cause serious injury and/or prosecution), it is done in the most cost-effective way.

Ensuring that process water technology is properly maintained is vital to the NHS. Pure water is essential to the disinfection of endoscopes and other medical instruments that cannot be thermally sterilised. To prevent the spread of resistant pathogens which can occur as a result of surgical tools not being properly disinfected, endoscopes and other instruments need to be chemically disinfected and rinsed in purified water using Automated Endoscope Reprocessors (AER) or Washer Disinfectors (WD).

Resistant pathogens cost lives and the NHS £700 million a year and can be easily circumvented by regular monitoring and sampling purified water, as required by the Health Technical Memoranda (HTM).

However, managing purified water technology, optimising or replacing existing equipment can be complex, timely and costly, utilising the time of facility managers that could otherwise be employed for more critical matters.

By working with a water technology expert such as Veolia Water Technologies UK (VWT UK), hospitals can receive a tailored service including consultancy, water treatment system design, installation, testing and maintenance to ensure a regular supply of compliant, purified water. When current equipment needs to be replaced or new equipment needs to be introduced to make the process water treatment system run more efficiently it can be a costly upfront cost.

Rental equipment is also a cost-effective approach, offering savings on equipment maintenance and operation, and man power needed. A service agreement with VWT UK provides a total package solution where the cost of the rented equipment includes the installation, maintenance, and remote monitoring by VWT UK – a complete hands-off approach for hospitals. As well, it provides hospitals with the ability to focus exclusively on patient care.

To further reduce ongoing costs for healthcare applications, VWT UK can also remotely monitor equipment through AQUAVISTA Plant. A cloud-based platform, AQUAVISTA Plant is a web-enabled, customer-driven monitoring system that supports adaptive chemical dosing, responding to fluctuations in the water’s make-up to achieve peak efficiency and performance while demonstrating regulatory compliance. VWT UK will work to implement data-driven, water-saving solutions that maximise equipment life cycles, reduce maintenance, and optimise water use, all in real-time.

VWT UK has a number of certified and experienced service engineers across the UK who are readily available to assist whenever required. VWT UK is a full-service provider with an expert team who can provide the best advice, taking the time to fully understand customer’s requirements to find the most cost effective and efficient solution.

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Greg Pilbrow

About the Author

Greg Pilbrow

Greg is an experienced sales manager and sales coach with over 30 years of experience of selling and sales management within the healthcare and life science industries. The majority of time focused within endoscopy, theatre equipment and decontamination sectors. For the last 8 years he has headed up the healthcare and scientific business units at Veolia Water Technologies leading teams focused on supporting customers with clinical outcomes and scientific research.