NHS Blood and Transplant has adopted SFG20 software to help ensure that its maintenance and service programmes adhere to a range of legislation and strict safety requirements.
Mark Walsh, National Estates and Facilities Technical Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: “I was very impressed with SFG20. Adopting the system has been the right thing to do as it helps to ensure that our maintenance procedures and tasks are always up-to-date with legal compliance across our whole estate.”
NHS Blood and Transplant manages blood donation services in England. This includes collection, testing, processing and packaging of blood and plasma products. The vital work is carried out across an extensive estate which includes around 90 buildings.
“The range of building types covers clinics, offices and laboratories,” explains Mr Walsh. “We also have cold rooms where collected blood is stored. And our estate also includes cryo-storage facilities that use liquid nitrogen to achieve temperatures as low as -196oC.”
The nature of the work carried out by NHS Blood and Transplant means that the organisation is licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). One of the Agency’s key roles is to ensure that blood and other products for transfusions meet high standards for safety, quality and efficacy. The MHRA is the enforcement body to the UK pharmaceutical industry.
Mr Walsh says: “We were focused on ensuring compliance with MHRA standards, as well as other legislation that relates to maintenance for building services. We had been relying on our contractors to do this, but we wanted to ensure that we had control to a recognised national standard.”
SFG20 is the unique web-based software tool for facilities managers and building maintenance teams. Launched in 1990 by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), SFG20 is recognised as the industry standard for building maintenance specifications.
Moving the NHS Blood and Transplant existing schedules to SFG20 was a significant project, requiring some bespoke consultancy, due not only to the size of the estate, but also the highly specialist equipment used by the organisation.
Ian Giles, SFG20 Technical Consultant worked with NHS Blood and Transport to create a bespoke solution. “We undertook a line-by-line review of all the tasks carried out by NHS Blood and Transport,” says Mr Giles. “The range of equipment across the estate was considerable, we even took photographs of the equipment to map assets correctly and to establish a common vocabulary for similar assets across the estate.”
Mr Walsh says: “It was an amazing piece of work that identified an additional 200 specialist tasks which were then added to SFG20 to ensure the migration would cover all our procedures.”
One of the benefits of the migration is that the facilities teams across the NHS Blood and Transplant estate are using standard documentation, and they are also able to see updates at the same time.
Mr Walsh uses the monthly updates provided by SFG20 to create regular in-house emails to the FM team to ensure they are aware of upcoming changes to tasks and documentation requirements. The SFG20 software also allows the facilities team to keep an archive of changes, creating an audit trail which is vital for compliance with MHRA requirements. Each change to service and maintenance procedures must be approved by the in-house engineering team as well as the MHRA.
Mr Walsh adds: “Although moving to SFG20 from our in-house maintenance schedules took time and a financial investment, it was the right thing to do. We know now that we adhere not only to MHRA requirements, but we can also be certain that we are always meeting all of our legal maintenance requirements on all of our equipment and sites.”
SFG20 is being more widely adopted by a range of healthcare estates thanks to the development of maintenance schedules specifically for hospitals, NHS Trusts, dentists, vets and doctors’ surgeries.
There are over 100 SFG20 specialist healthcare schedules which have been built taking into account the requirements of the Health Technical Memoranda (HTMs), which give comprehensive advice and guidance on the design, installation and operation of specialised building and engineering technology used in the delivery of healthcare.