After extensive R&D, trialling, and evaluation work over two years, BCUHB took delivery of eight new Hydra systems at the end of March 2022. The machines will initially be used at their three district general hospitals across North Wales. Hydra uses Solvic hypochlorous acid misting solution, which is effective against a wide range of human pathogens including coronaviruses, MRSA, norovirus, E. coli and C. difficile.
BCUHB is one of the biggest health boards in the UK, with an annual turnover of around £1.4 billion and services ranging from acute primary care and community health to mental health. Always keen to support innovation, the Board were early adopters of hydrogen peroxide vapour (HPV), which has been a part of their decontamination and enhanced cleaning processes since 2012. They have also built an armoury of UV disinfection machines.
Paul Clarke, Head of Facilities Management for the Health Board, said: “HPV is very effective, but it has health and safety constraints, is time-consuming, and quite costly. This restricts where you can use it, because it needs to be operated by specially trained staff. With UV, for me, there are still a lot of questions around shadowing, distance, and coverage.
“For a couple of years now we’ve been looking at possible alternatives to these two technologies. I think hypochlorous acid really does fit the bill, and that was highlighted when we did the evaluation work with Metis Health.”
The team is seeing benefits not only in terms of improved safety, but in considerably reduced costs – particularly compared to HPV – and increased speed. With HPV, to process a single room with pre-cleaning takes 3.5-4 hours. With Hydra, it takes around 1 hour. Turning beds around and making sure they are safe for re-occupancy more quickly clearly has vast implications for improved patient experience, patient safety and patient care.
The evaluation work showed that the Board’s standard cleaning processes were robust, with a median swab count of 10 cfu (1 log) across the surfaces sampled. But the Solvic solution was able to bring that down to 0 log. As such, the highly effective Hydra systems have been welcomed across the organisation, by Nursing and Infection Prevention staff as well as the Facilities teams.
“Because of how safe it is and how easy it is to train people, our plan is to base one Hydra system on each community site, so that we don’t have to move deep clean teams and equipment around,” Clarke adds. “Long-term, we plan to replace failing equipment with Hydra systems and build this product into the daily cleaning routines of our domestic assistants.”
Husain Kara, Director of Metis Health, commented: “All credit goes to BCUHB for being pioneers of innovation. It takes time, money and attention to develop new solutions, and for us to be given this opportunity during a pandemic is amazing. We know how stretched Paul and his colleagues have been, so we want to thank them for their support.”
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