A retractable tunnel has recently been purchased by the North Staffs Primary Care Trust to help reduce the threat of contamination at a large Staffordshire hospital. The tunnel, measuring 1.6m wide, 2.5m long and 1.8m high, was supplied and installed by Uttoxeter based supplier, Spaciotempo, at the Accident & Emergency department of the North Staffs University Hospital in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Sealed against the existing building to prevent water and dust ingress, the tunnel acts as a changing area for potentially contaminated patients to safely dispose of their clothes prior to entering a showering area. Such is the importance of the tunnel in dealing with potential contamination that it is clearly printed with ‘Decontamination Unit’ logos on each side to ensure full awareness of its use. When not in use the tunnel retracts back neatly into a lockable and tamper proof steel cupboard, which was specially installed to protect the tunnel.
Bill Almond, Resilience Manager at the Hospital, was responsible for procuring a solution for decontamination following a mandate from the Department of Health requiring each A&E department to provide a facility. The initial solution found was an inflatable tent; which swiftly proved impractical due to the length of time to erect and the number of punctures the unit sustained. Bill recalled the concept of a tunnel he’d seen at an exhibition some years earlier and a quick internet search soon led him to Spaciotempo; a leading supplier of retractable tunnels to the industrial and sport sector.
After visiting the site to measure up, the team from Spaciotempo provided full support to the hospital to obtain planning for the tunnel. The unit was installed in compliance with strict NHS regulations and procedures highlighting the importance attributed to the decontamination area.
Bill was delighted with the end result and the customer service received from Spaciotempo;
“The tunnel area is extremely important in our constant battle to keep out potential contaminants from the A&E department. It was a pleasure to deal with Spaciotempo, who were most helpful every step of the way. The tunnel is easy to use, incredibly robust and has withstood the recent awful spell of weather to provide a safe area for patients to change. We are pleased to have pioneered the use of this solution in the NHS.”