NHS mental health facility chooses smart access control solution

SALTO provides long-term secure and reliable access solution for Chatterton House

A new access control system from Salto has been installed as part of the development of a new mental health facility at Chatterton House in Norfolk

A Salto access control solution has been installed at a new 16-bed mental health ward in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Samphire Ward at Chatterton House is a new £4m acute mental health facility comprised of two refurbished wards linked to create a modern, compliant unit to be operated by North and West Norfolk Care Group, part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The trust provides inpatient and community-based mental health services in both Norfolk and Suffolk.

And the new facility is one of many sites that make up its sprawling estate.

Managing over 4,000 staff, and controlling more than 1,500 access-controlled doors across multiple sites; the trust used a legacy system, Continuim, which is a bolt-on module to Trend BMS, with all doors on the system are required to be wired online.

Several years ago the trust wanted a more-modern contactless solution for their facilities which would offer cost savings by not having to wire all doors.

SALTO was chosen for fitting to new and refurbishment projects, with a view to possibly retrofitting across all existing sites on a rolling upgrade basis as time and future budgets allow.

The use of this standalone, largely-battery-operated system will provide significant cost savings over the years to come, making for a long-term secure and reliable access control solution for the trust

Security and infrastructure manager for the strategic estates department at the trust, Paul Evans, explains: “By choosing SALTO the trust was able to specify a mix of online and offline equipment.

“The cost saving for offline equipment enables the trust to specify more internal offline doors to become controllable as part of the access control system, thus giving us greater flexibility and security for our facilities.”

He added: “Given the nature of our work, and as some of our service users can have really-challenging behaviour issues; it is vital that, for their safety and that of the staff, we are able to control access simply and easily, yet securely, into and around the many different areas of the ward, the administration area, and the rest of the rooms in the building.

“A standard off-the-shelf access control solution was not suitable as reduced-ligature hardware working with contactless smart access control was needed in the user areas, together with anti-barricade doors, vision panels, automatic lockdown abilities, locker locks, and a host of other special items; so we wanted a company with specialist experience in this field to carry out the supply and installation.”

After going out to a competitive open tender process, security specialist and certificated SALTO partner, AC Leigh, based in Norwich, won the contract to secure the new facility.

Its lead designer and health and safety director, Simon Clarkson, said: “We listened to what Paul and his team needed, and especially how they wanted to manage and control the building, and delivered a completely-focused solution that allows central administration of the facility using hardware and software from SALTO Systems as the core of the solution.”

Online wall readers are used to control access into and around the building and these have been installed on main entry points, alongside bedroom doors, and in ‘airlocks’ to control access from one area to another.

Evans said: “The latest SALTO online CU4200 control units were used on this project where data can be shared to SALTO slave control units via a single master control unit.

“This reduced the load on the already-exhausted IT infrastructure which has meant that more online doors can be added to the SALTO system.”

Bedroom doors are all fail secure with mechanical key override and are also anti-barricade.

The facility has the bespoke ability to operate a standard eight-male, eight-female bedroom configuration.

However, the trust wanted the flexibility to extend either male or female bedrooms to 10 bedrooms if needed.

This was achieved through the introduction of two swing corridor doors.

In standard operation, these are held open with electro-magnetic locks. But, in their swing scenario a key switch can be operated which releases the hold-open magnet and energises the SALTO system, powering a separate electronic locking device on the door.

This enables the trust to easily maintain the required gender separation within the bedroom areas.

The solution will now be retrofitted across all the trust's existing sites on a rolling upgrade basis as time and future budgets allow

Other doors are fitted with Aelement Fusion smart locks.

AC Leigh worked closely with the trust to design and manufacture special reduced-ligature handles and reader covers to ensure ligature points were reduced in conjunction with DHF technical specification TS001:2013 enhanced requirements and test methods for anti-ligature hardware.

“The consultation between AC Leigh and the trust took several months with multiple prototypes being presented for approval”, Evans said.

“After looking at all the various options, the trust is happy that the best solution for this type of battery-operated offline door has been chosen and installed.”

“The client needed precise tailoring of access levels and the SALTO access control solution has empowered them with an intuitive, easy-to-use, but adaptive system

And he added that the bespoke design would be used as the trust’s preferred solution on future projects for this type of door.

In staff areas XS4 Mini locks are fitted and in common areas lockers are equipped with smart XS4 locker locks, enabling each service user to have a secure storage place for their personal items.

To operate the various doors, staff use their smartcard ID badges, while service users have wristbands to access their bedroom, locker and certain other doors.

Tying all this together is SALTO SPACE a flexible, fully-integrated electronic locking and software platform that enables operators to effectively manage every door and user access plan on site via powerful web-based access control management software.

Audit trail information from the doors is held for 31 days before deletion in accordance with the trust’s data policy.

Clarkson said: “The client needed precise tailoring of access levels and the SALTO access control solution has empowered them with an intuitive, easy-to-use, but adaptive system.

“The use of this standalone largely-battery-operated access control system will provide significant cost savings over the years to come compared with other systems and will deliver a reduction in engineer callouts and simplify system administration, making for a long-term secure and reliable access control solution for the trust.”