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Is a review of MGPS guidance now overdue?

Dr Scott Brown CEng, CSci, MD, considers whether the existing HTM guidance on medical gas pipeline systems is due for review given advances in technology, changes in clinical practice, and ‘learnings from the Pandemic'

Medical gases in the frontline – and in particular oxygen – were once only really considered by healthcare professionals working in a hospital environment, and, even then, only in noting their continued availability when required for treatment or therapy. The worldwide pandemic as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus has seen a sea change, with medical gases promoted to a prominent position at the forefront of both the public’s minds and the popular press – but only because there were grave concerns that they would run out and lead to potentially fatal consequences. Unfortunately, this was the case in Zefta General Hospital, in Gharbiya governorate, north-east of Cairo, where in their ICU the supply of oxygen had literally run out, leading to deaths. 1 Similar reports of severe shortage of oxygen were also reported from the Manaus city in Brazil, 2 and more recently in India. Other countries such as Africa are known to have poor infrastructure for their medical gases. However, the majority of people, including healthcare professionals, are blissfully unaware of the machinery to control and generate medical gases. let alone the design of the medical gas pipeline system to distribute it to the clinical settings. This is not meant as a criticism, but, because of the robust design of the system, and regular scheduled maintenance of the associated plant, its continuity of supply throughout the hospital is taken for granted.

The guidance

The first national guidance on the design, installation, and commissioning of medical gases was published in 1972 by the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS), and was named Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 22, while the current HTM 02-01 was published in 2006, some 15 years ago. Perhaps the question needs to be asked that with advances in medical equipment technology, changes in clinical practice, and what we have learnt from dealing with the pandemic, is the guidance still valid, or would it in fact benefit from a review?

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Upcoming Events

Futurebuild 2024

ExCeL, London
5th - 7th March 2024

The Fire Safety Event 2024

National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham
30th April - 2 May 2024

Wales regional conference, exhibition and awards dinner 2024

International Conference Centre (ICC) Newport
28th - 29th May 2024

NAHFO National Conference 2024

Crowne Plaza Newcastle Upon Tyne
3rd - 5th June 2024

Design in Mental Health 2024

Manchester Central
4th - 5th June 2024

InstallerSHOW 2024

National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham
25th - 27th June

Access the latest issue of Health Estate Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

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