• Safe & Effective
  • Kind & Caring
  • Exceeding Expectation
Trust Department Gains National Award

Trust Department Gains National Award

Date of release: 22 June 2020

A department at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has gained national recognition to allow it to compete with the private sector for work.

The Clinical Engineering team, based in the Deanesly Centre at New Cross Hospital, has been recognised by the British Standards Institute (BSI) for its quality management system. It can now proudly use the BSI Assurance Mark and Kitemark symbols and display the certificate of registration for ISO9001:2015, following lengthy audits in November 2019 and February 2020.

Latest News: ISO Award for Medical Physics 1
Pictured with the award, from left, Malcolm Foley, Head of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Amanda Johnson, Quality Co-ordinator, MPCE, David Loughton, Chief Executive, Roger Moore, Operational Quality Manager, MPCE, Sandra Roberts, Divisional Manager, Estates and Facilities, Robert Millard, Manager of Clinical Engineering, MPCE, Tracey Thatcher, Clinical Technologist, MPCE

Established over 35 years ago, the Clinical Engineering team forms a major part of the Medical Physics department. Its 45 staff are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of most of the 40,000 pieces of medical equipment used by the Trust for treating patients. This ranges from a simple device for measuring a patient’s temperature to ventilators used in ICCU. The staff are also involved with the trial and evaluation of medical equipment, pre-purchase checks, commissioning and setting up of equipment, together with on-going repairs, tests and calibrations. To achieve the certification, a quality group was created to develop the system along with the implementation of an industry-standard document management system. All of the life-cycle processes for the management of medical equipment were reviewed and now form the basis of continuous quality improvement initiatives.

Stage one of the audit was held with managers and the quality team of the department to review how the processes linked to the department’s objectives and the needs of customers (patients and other departments) and whether those processes covered all aspects of the standard. Stage two spent time visiting various sections of Clinical Engineering and speaking to staff to ensure the processes were being followed. The auditors reviewed documentation to ensure there was tangible evidence to confirm the department continually met required standards of performance.

Speaking about the award, Malcolm Foley, Head of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, said: “This is a very proud moment in the history of the department and pays testament to the high quality processes and continual improvement the team aims for. Quality management systems are now seen as a standard when tendering for contracts. The Clinical Engineering team can now compete on an even footing with industry for work outside of the organisation.”

Latest News: ISO Award for Medical Physics 2
Pictured with the award, David Loughton and Roger Moore

Many specialist areas in the hospital have clinical technologist workshops embedded in their working areas, so they can provide the quick response times and specialist support for those areas. For example, technologists provide specialist support in areas including the Heart and Lung Centre, Renal department, Radiotherapy, Children’s and Neonatal services. Technologists also have to be able to us the software that operates the equipment. One of the team’s longest-serving members of staff has worked on equipment driven by valves, through transistors, IC circuits through to PCB and software technology.

With so many different items of equipment, it is important all staff are suitably trained and a medical device training team within Clinical Engineering has a teaching area and simulated ward bay so staff can train on equipment in clinical settings.

The COVID-19 crisis has been a particularly challenging time for the Trust’s clinical technologists. The department has worked closely with procurement and clinical colleagues to ensure frontline staff have the right equipment at the right time. Technologists remain available around the clock to manage and repair equipment and like frontline staff have had to be in situations that are new, unfamiliar and challenging. As hospitals sought additional medical equipment, supplies became limited and technologists were continually trying to ensure stocks were able to meet the surge in demand from ICCU, wards and theatres.

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham