Water purification overhaul at Stafford hospital

SUEZ Water Purification Systems UK enhances dialysis supply at County Hospital’s new renal unit

SUEZ Water Purification Systems UK has successfully completed the installation of a new renal reverse osmosis (RO) water purification system to further enhance dialysis provision at the redeveloped Renal Unit at County Hospital in Stafford.

The global water purification specialist delivered the ultrapure water system on time, despite a tight deadline. The high-quality system is now enabling the local satellite facility to safely and reliably cope with the increasing demand for dialysis treatment in the region.

University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) NHS Trust is investing £3.1m in the new and expanded renal unit at County Hospital to replace the old facility, which had only seven dialysis stations compared with the 12 that are now installed. The modern unit provides more than double the space previously available and includes additional side rooms, making it ideal for patients receiving long-term dialysis treatment. Most critically, the expansion also enables more patients to be treated locally, as opposed to travelling to Stoke three times a week for a routine procedure, as was previously the case for many.

The hospital commissioned SUEZ to install the water purification system to ensure the reliable supply of high-quality pure water needed for the dialysis process in the new renal unit after having used the firm’s equipment since 1998. The previous system in the old unit had provided outstanding performance since its installation 17 years ago, but was due an upgrade as it was reaching the end of its natural life. The new unit also needed a machine with greater capacity to cope with the increase in patients using the facility.

John Moore, renal team leader for the clinical technology department at UHNM, was impressed by the flexibility offered by SUEZ in servicing and maintenance and the ability to maintain the equipment themselves in-house or to call upon SUEZ engineers as required. Most crucially, the high-quality water purification system met the unit’s requirements in terms of the desired volumes of ultrapure water at the correct quality for haemodialysis and haemodiafiltration.

In addition to its proven reliability, SUEZ’s Elite MediQA+ system features fully-integrated automatic hot water membrane sanitisation that ensures enhanced microbiological performance and eliminates microbial contamination. The purification process in this Medical Device Directive-approved system sees softened, dechlorinated mains water passing through two RO stages for ultimate purity to guarantee the water quality meets the British Renal Association guidelines.

Patient safety and ease of operation are improved further still, thanks to a number of the Elite MediQA+’s innovative features. For example, it has an inbuilt full colour, touch-screen display with an easy-to-navigate menu, including full schematics, and it allows for advanced data logging with password control. Perhaps, most importantly, it features a sophisticated alarm system that alerts an on-call renal technician of the system status and if there is an error to ensure optimum treatment.

With the type of water purification system selected, the installation was carried out to deadline and during normal working hours. The process was straightforward and with minimal disruption to the other building trades people, including plasterers, electricians and flooring contractors, who were working on the newly-refurbished site at the same time. The new unit is now open and welcoming patients who are reaping the benefits of the system.

Moore said: “We are very impressed with the whole installation, which was completed on time and on budget. By working with an experienced solution provider such as SUEZ Water Purification Systems UK, we now have a system that delivers everything we need to give our dialysis patients the very-best treatment in our new renal unit. This equipment is vital to our main objective of protecting the health of our patients, while also ensuring reliable and efficient operation in the facility.”

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