July 27, 2020 Comments (0)

Supplying specialist medical gas in fight against Covid-19

The number of people in the UK who have lost their lives to Covid-19 has sadly crossed a harrowing milestone of 45,000. This seemed unthinkable back in March when the idea of Nightingale hospitals was first announced. The struggle against Covid-19 has been extremely difficult, especially here in the UK.

As we saw news come in from Italy, the Government became concerned that hospitals could be overrun, finding themselves short of beds, ventilators and intensive care for Covid-19 patients. As part of the solution, 7 emergency critical care hospitals were built in England in quick time: from idea to completion in a matter of weeks. They were designed to provide care to the worst affected patients and prevent further spread of the disease inside hospitals. They have been described as an important element of the nation’s response to the biggest health crisis faced in living memory, and “Roses Medical is exceptionally proud of their team for the part they played”, says Trevor Cook, Managing Director.

Harrogate Convention Centre has been home to events since 1835. In 1884 they hosted the British Medical Association. 136 years later, it became the home of altogether different medical teams. To transform this historic building into one of the Nightingale hospitals was a monumental effort by over 400 people working extremely hard around the clock. Divided up into 8 ICU wards, it required a full medical gas installation, providing medical oxygen, air and vacuum to each bed. That’s where we came in to play our part. Roses Medical was chosen to provide the specialist Medical Gas design and installation services, working closely with NHS England, British Army REME, BAM Construction, NG Baileys, Silcock Leedham, and BDP Architects. Trevor has been reflecting on this monumental project.

“We received the call at 7:30pm on Friday 27th March and the very next morning we were on site in the Initial Project Meeting Chaired by the Army (REME) and Leeds NHS Trust. We discussed the requirements, had a tour of the site, and then we got to work. Ian Crookes began the design works based on HTM 02-01 & NHS Covid design concept document, whilst I started work with the supply chain to source the plants, the specialist equipment and all the materials needed to create 8 wards and 500 beds. From that day on, our team worked tirelessly, day and night in 15 hour shifts to deliver.”

Within 24 hours, the wards layout design had been completed by BAM and the Design Team and Roses Medical were finalising the Medical Gas design. “We were frantically placing our procurement orders so that installation could start the following day, when a major variation came in: a Medical Vacuum needed to be added to the scheme and that increased our scope of works by at least one third.”

Key specs:

  • 2 x Containerised Medical Air (8000 l/m) & Vacuum Plants (6000 l/m)
  • Plant Alarm System
  • 500 Beds Total:
    • 18 No Individual Wards complete with AVZM’s & Area Alarms
    • 2 No O2, 1 No Med Air 4 & Vacuum to each bed
    • 250 Beds full CPAP capability

Installation was in full swing the following day, and the 15 hour shifts had well and truly begun. This was made a little easier by having some of the team stay in the hotel next door to the site.

From the outset the expectation was set that this had to be completed as soon as humanly possible. To expedite the work, the design decision was made to containerise the Med Air and Vac plants and to use NG Bailey’s Bradford offsite facility to make the majority of pipe work to be installed on service modules.

A mere 9 days after that Initial Project meeting, the Med Air plant for Phase 1 was delivered, followed by the Med Vacuum the next day, and we were able to complete Testing and Commissioning including the Pharmacist checks by 13th April. More than 200 beds were ready and on standby should Covid-19 patients need them. Phase 2 was completed shortly afterwards, making all 500 beds available.

“I have never ever worked so hard in my life but when we reached the finish line there was a great sense of achievement and I’m exceptionally proud of the Roses Medical team. I personally will never forget the absolute “madness” of those two and a bit weeks!”

It took a huge team effort, a lot of teamwork and determination throughout the supply chain to pull it off. The achievements of all those involved in bringing the Nightingale hospitals to life have not gone unnoticed in the industry and beyond.

At the opening of the hospital, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP said: “I have been incredibly impressed by the sheer dedication, professionalism and altruism of everyone involved in setting up NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and The Humber – from the NHS clinical staff and engineers to the construction workers and military planners.”

Fortunately, most of the Nightingale hospitals have not yet been called on and we all hope this continues to be the case.