NEW HEALTHCARE VEHICLE LEGISLATION.

As audit finds almost half of one Trust’s transport fleet unclean – could NHS contractors protect against infection risk with anti-bacterial vehicle liner?

Companies involved in the utilisation of vehicles within the healthcare industry must ensure vehicle interiors are impervious to liquids and body fluids, to beat bacterial contamination.

Healthcare Associated Infections (known as HCAIs) are rife within healthcare environments. Government cleanliness and infection control Regulations – last updated in April 2009, but shortly to be reviewed – currently state that HCAIs are caused by a wide variety of micro-organisms, including ‘superbugs’ such as MRSA. The Health Protection Agency estimates that around eight per cent of patients in English hospitals had an HCAI in 2006. With healthcare transport vehicles being a logistical link between patient and hospital – in addition to routinely carrying sterile equipment and medical supplies – it is vital that commercial vehicle owners protect staff and public by ensuring vehicle interiors are impervious to liquids.

A brand new audit carried out by Great Western Ambulance Service (Ref 1) to measure infection prevention and control standards found that just 55% of vehicle interiors were in ‘a clean and safe state, with surfaces free of soiling’.

This is exceedingly worrying, as to meet legal requirements, NHS trusts and their contractors must ensure that patients, workers and others are protected against HCAI risk factors.

Because vehicles are a potential source of infection and contamination from bacteria, the UK’s Quality Care Commission is developing new legislation relating to the lining of vehicles used for transporting patients, sterile equipment or medical supplies. Vehicles lined with materials such as carpet or cloth-based fabrics, or any interior liable to the ingress of liquids, will not be allowed to transport patients or any medical equipment or supplies.

Fortunately, a strong, durable anti-bacterial spray-on lining has been developed for the healthcare transport industry; Speedliner Euro HC® is an antimicrobial vehicle interior lining system that helps protect against contamination from bacterial strains such as MRSA, E-coli and salmonella.

The ‘antimicrobially active’ spray-on liner also offers control and protection against fungi’ mould and mildew. Vehicle load-carrying can create cracks, abrasions and scratched surfaces, meaning an instant haven for bacteria; even Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) or fibreglass-lined vehicles are susceptible. However, a Speedliner Euro HC® lined vehicle creates a hygienic, safe interior surface for patients, equipment and clinical supplies.

Speedliner Euro HC® is ideal for fleet vehicles used within sectors such as NHS Trust, local authority, hygiene, laundry, cleansing or refuse.

The convenient maintenance and easy clean surface of this quality liner not only saves companies time but also long-term financial benefit because they would normally use a strong, sometimes expensive detergent on the vehicle’s interior. Speedliner Euro HC® (Hygiene Coat) is applied by fully-trained sprayers employed by vehicle conversion specialists and bespoke motor coachbuilders that have become authorised SPEEDLINER EUROPE® Application Centres.

Ref 1 – Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) Health Check. Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Jan 2010. Audit undertaken to assess compliance with ‘The Health Act 2006: Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections’.

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