Water hygiene in
hospitals and healthcare facilities is vital to the recovery and wellbeing of patients,
and the workforce. So why are hospitals continuing to face significant
outbreaks of waterborne disease, here in the UK? And – importantly – what can
be done to mitigate the risk of outbreaks in the first place?
Trend Control’s Bob
Blincowe, healthcare sector specialist and member of the new Demand Generation
team, shares his expert view on the problem.
Despite the lessons that could – and should – have been
learned over the last 30 or so years, new cases of Legionnaire’s disease are
still occurring with alarming regularity. In early 2018, for example, Royal
United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust was fined £300,000 after failing to
control the risk to patients from exposure to legionella bacteria in its water
Even more recently, an investigation into the water supply
of two Glasgow-based hospitals was confirmed after widespread contamination was
found. It was reported that 23 children in the hospital cancer wards had
contracted bloodstream infections in 2018. A report, published in February 2019
by Health Protection Scotland, said that contamination was found in taps and
drains at both hospitals.
Both examples are of great concern, but they are sadly not
Prevention is better
The bugs that cause Legionnaire’s disease - legionella
pneumophila bacteria - are naturally distributed in aquatic environments,
achieving optimal growth at temperatures of 25-42°C. Water stagnation and
sediment build-up in water systems including fittings, pipework and materials,
also accelerate their growth.
Controlling and reducing the risk of Legionnaires’ disease
and other waterborne pathogens in a healthcare environment is vital. This can
be done by introducing, and adhering to, appropriate measures. There is some
established guidance for water safety, efficiency and management and, coupled
with the available guidance on water management systems, there is also a
framework to provide safe and reliable solutions.
Water systems in healthcare estates are notoriously complex.
One way that a growing number of innovative healthcare estates are achieving
better management and infection control is through the use of a Building Energy
Management System (BEMS), which monitors and manages up to 84 per cent of a
building’s energy consuming devices.
The good news is that the vast majority of health estates
already have this type of technology installed, so taking control of an asset
that is already in place makes sense. The ability to monitor and control many
different inputs/outputs (I/O) into the main plant area of the water system can
be achieved by utilising unused capacity already on-site.
Not sure what a BEMS is? CLICK
HERE for our
The future of
responsible water management
A properly specified, installed and maintained BEMS will
ensure that plant is operating correctly and will provide an alert if attention
is required. The key to maximising the effectiveness of a BEMS is information –
the more connected devices in a single building, multi-building site or
multi-location estate, the more information is gathered and can be acted upon.
Cutting-edge systems are now available that integrate
controllers, third-party smart devices and internet protocols into a
centralised software platform that offers the ability to highlight and
investigate plant status, as well as energy use, and a building’s comfort
These new system innovations enable a diverse range of
useful functions such as centralised data logging, archiving, alarming,
trending, master scheduling, system-wide database management, and integration
with enterprise software applications.
Take a look at our newest launch, IQ VISION 2.2: CLICK
Installing or updating your BEMS should not be a ‘fit and
forget’ process; regularly reassess any objectives and key performance
indicators to make sure you’re maintaining compliance, and use the information
the BEMS can deliver in the smartest way possible.
support and advice is always available from the team at Trend Controls. We are
building energy management system specialists, and have significant experience
supporting the healthcare sector.
If you want to learn
how to use your BEMS efficiently and responsibly at your healthcare estate,
then contact our team today. Email: