The anticipated introduction of a revised version of HTM03-01 Specialised Ventilation for Healthcare Premises, will no doubt be followed by a lot of commentary on the technical detail of amendments and improvements in design specifications, inspection processes, air change rates etc.
All these requirements will be documented in the standard itself when it is published and hospital estates managers will in any case need to go through them in detail in order to match them to specific premises. None of the detailed proposals we have seen seem to be contentious: in fact, they have real potential to plug gaps and can reduce risks, as we explained in the February issue of IHEEM’s Health Estate Journal.
In the article, we focus on what appears to be the overarching challenge in the guidance and its implications: the increased emphasis on the safety of all ventilation equipment and infrastructure, not just that servicing critical areas.
You can read the whole article HERE.
There is, however, likely to be an elephant or two in the room for some trust managers. We imply no malpractice or complacency, but pragmatism often means that current practice focuses on ultra-clean ventilation and other critical systems but can exclude significant proportions of the ventilation infrastructure. The proposed updates appear to bring all ventilation under the HTM-03 umbrella. Meeting all the requirements of the revised standard will call for capital expenditure on new equipment, significant refurbishment, and, in many cases, periods of shutdown while works are undertaken.
Without a considerable new branch of the magic money tree, can the revisions have teeth? As we see it, the agility and professionalism of healthcare estates managers and engineers has been well proven by the Covid-19 challenges, so there is no doubt that the will to accommodate change exists. In this particular area, they may be helped by changes in the oversight of ventilation management. There are specific recommendations on membership of Ventilation Safety Groups (VSGs), building on the experience and success of Water Safety Groups. This approach will perhaps empower Estates and Facilities Managers and streamline the changes implicit in managing the new requirements.