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Wansbeck Hospital’s £5.5 m theatre upgrade

Medical Air Technology (MAT) is the main contractor on a current refurbishment project at Wansbeck General Hospital, which is seeing the turnkey upgrade of six operating theatres, including recovery, clean corridor, and adjacent auxiliary areas.

The theatres have been reconfigured for better workflow, with new HTM 03-01-compliant ventilation, medical gases, electrical installation, doors, furniture, sanitaryware, and finishes.  They will all be equipped with MAT’s ‘flagship’ ECO-flow ultraclean ventilation (UCV) system, and a range of surgical equipment from Bender UK, including operating lights and theatre control panels.

Operated by the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington, Northumberland, is a centre of excellence for planned and ongoing care, performing almost 7,000 operations annually, around half being orthopaedic procedures such as hip and knee replacements. The refurbishment will provide the hospital with more ultraclean operating theatres, enabling a wider range of surgery, and improving patient flow and other efficiencies.

MAT says that despite the pressures of working under the restraints of the coronavirus pandemic, ‘the project got off to a flying start’. The phased delivery programme is scheduled for completion in spring 2022, with Theatres 5 and 6 ‘leading the way’, with expected handover this May 2021. 

Scott Muller, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, and lead for the project, says: “With this investment, our theatres will become a state-of-the art facility that reflect the highest standards of care that our patients rightly expect. This redevelopment will ensure that the facility remains best in class, thereby cementing the hospital as a major provider of elective surgery for years to come.”

The ECO-flow ultraclean ventilation system uses laminar airflow, delivered via a canopy above the operating table and surgical team, to create a clean zone around the patient.  The ‘clean zone’ designation means the surgical field is ‘free from bacteria-carrying airborne particles’, significantly reducing the risk of surgical site infection (SSI). 

MAT canopies are available in two standard models, depending on the size of clean zone required, with Wansbeck General Hospital selecting the ECO-flow 2.8 m for Theatres 1-4, and the larger ECO-flow 3.2 m variant for Theatres 5-6.  The theatre converts from general to ultraclean in under an hour. 

Medical IT power and theatre equipment supplied by Bender UK includes six new PACS consoles with a 24 in membrane keyboard, a  medical grade PC, and fanless cooling system.  These will be installed alongside glass touchscreen theatre control panels, complete with PLC interface boxes. The theatres also feature high-performance, ‘shadow-reducing’, Merivaara Q-Flow 2021 Q6i and Q4i dual cardanic twin-arm LED HD-ready operating lights.

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