Dividing screens address urgent need for patient segregation

Building Services Now (BSN) has worked closely and collaboratively with Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust to provide alterations and improvements to the existing hospital facilities at Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich.

The speciialiist main contractor explained: “Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust faced an unprecedented challenge which required immediate action – as the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, it had a clinical need to quickly modify existing ward space, and provide additional facilities, to keep staff and patients safe, and reduce the virus’s potential spread. Its highest priority was the segregation of ward areas at the hospital to accommodate individual beds and provide COVID-19 patients with specialist treatment.”

The BSN team took on the project following a request for the installation of dividing screens and doors on multiple wards at Sandwell General Hospital from Steve Lawley, deputy director of Estates (Contract and Commercial Management) at the Trust. The bespoke solution, which took just seven days from initial concept to completion, comprised a prefabricated, prefinished dividing wall system, complete with sliding pocket doors incorporating 6 mm toughened glass vision panels. This provided the required segregation, yet also maintained the full visibility of all areas required by hospital staff. As the system was developed offsite, installation time within the wards was quick, with minimal disruption to staff and patients, and less physical interaction. 

Ben Cohen, co-founder of BSN said: “Following the success and incredible feedback on the ward segregation project carried out at Sandwell Hospital, we are now consulting with other Trusts across the UK for similar solutions which can meet their new requirements. From adapted resuscitation areas to negative testing bays – as well as permanent screen dividers to waiting areas and receptions – we have been working closely with NHS Trusts across the UK to understand their needs and develop the best solution to keep both staff and patients safe.”

He added: “While the COVID-19 burden on the NHS is gradually easing, the requirement for modified clinical areas remains. Segregated ward areas not only provide greater privacy for individual patients, but also help with ongoing infection control. BSN’s solutions are developed to be robust for long-term use.”

Building Services Now is a private independent specialist main contractor, with offices in Manchester and the West Midlands. It has three main divisions – construction, mechanical, and electrical, and also offers passive fire protection.