Delivering in record time for coronavirus wards at Epsom University Hospital

Delivering in record time for coronavirus wards at Epsom University Hospital

Delivering in record time for coronavirus wards at Epsom University Hospital

Epsom Hospital workers on site

Project: Epsom University Hospitals Covid-19 Wards

Client: Interserve / Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals

Timing: 25th – 28th March 2020

Value: £1.6M

Medical Gases completed a project, including over 1000 meters of pipework, in less than a week to boost oxygen supplies to the coronavirus wards at Epsom University Hospital.

 

Background

In early March 2020 Medical Gases was contacted by Interserve for a project to increase the supply of oxygen to two maternity wards at Epsom University Hospital, which were being converted to provide accommodation for coronavirus patients during the pandemic.

 

The challenge

Supplying the required oxygen to the wards necessitated running 54mm oxygen main pipework from the existing main through the occupied hospital, including installing pipework along the ambulance corridor being used to admit coronavirus patients.

Epsom Hospital workers on site

Working through the night to deliver a solution

To save disruption to hospital staff and patient traffic, Medical Gases carried out the installation at night. A team of 15 people worked from 5pm to 5am on three consecutive nights to complete the run of 1000 metres of pipework. The contract, which would ordinarily take around a month in an occupied hospital, took less than a week from instruction to commissioning. The speed and quality of the installation is wholly attributable to the skill, knowledge and commitment of the Medical Gases team, who draw on the experience gained from the company’s 37 years’ experience of delivering this type of contract.

Throughout the work, to protect themselves and others, the Medical Gases team had to wear full PPE, disinfect their tools daily, go through a post work regime of showering and washing their work clothes and at the end of the contract they had to isolate for a week.

This completion of the Epsom Hospital contract in record time is an achievement to be proud of. The team worked long hours under very challenging conditions, and at potential risk to their own health, to ensure that coronavirus wards were up and running as quickly as possible, knowing that without oxygen the facilities could not function. We are very proud of them and grateful to their families for their support.

 

Following the successful completion of the Epsom Hospital system, Medical Gases carried out  projects to provide oxygen for covid-19 provisions at the Dragon’s Heart Hospital at the Principality Stadium and the Royal London Hospital. We are immensely proud of all our staff, who have worked so hard to deliver, and showed their commitment in such challenging circumstances, and are grateful to the suppliers who went above and beyond to support them. Thank you all.

Providing critical oxygen delivery system to Dragon’s Heart Hospital

Providing critical oxygen delivery system to Dragon’s Heart Hospital

Providing critical oxygen delivery system to Dragon’s Heart Hospital

Dragon Heart COVID ward under construction

Project: Dragon’s Heart Hospital Principality Stadium

Client: N G Bailey / Cardiff & Vale University Health Board

Timing: April 2020

Value: £1.6M

 

Without oxygen the Dragon’s Heart Hospital, conceived as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, could not function. Demonstrating outstanding commitment, the Medical Gases’ team designed, delivered and installed a system serving 1586 beds at the Dragon’s Heart Hospital in the Principality Stadium in just four weeks.

 

Background

In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising number of confirmed cases testing positive for Covid-19, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board identified that additional bed space would be needed to accommodate patients in the area.

The Principality Stadium was identified as a suitable venue to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand, and Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig – the Dragon’s Heart Hospital was conceived.

It took Medical Gases just three weeks (9th – 30th April) to install the oxygen terminals essential to the scheme, leaving a week free for commissioning to successfully deliver the project by the 7th May deadline.

 

The Challenge

The main challenge in delivering oxygen to terminals for the planned 2000 headspaces at the Dragon’s Heart Hospital was time. The hospital needed to be operational within weeks rather than months. Typically, a project of this scales takes two to three years to deliver, Dragon’s Heart had to be delivered in four weeks, from Medical Gases receiving the order to the system being operational. Working within the guidance and restrictions imposed as a response to Covid-19 added an additional complication to a challenging timetable and this was compounded by the Managing Director (On site project managing) contracting Covid-19 in the second week of the contract, followed by the company’s Technical Director, a commissioning engineer, senior project engineer and several members of the workshop team.

 

The Solution

 

  • Planning

Medical Gases did a considerable amount of organising so that on Thursday 20th February, when the order was received, the team were able to divert resources, including labour, plant, equipment and materials, from other projects immediately.

 

  • Manpower – mobilised and prepared

Medical Gases’ forward planning meant that 40 members of the team were immediately on the project. To complete the project Medical Gases’ labour manager arranged over 50 operatives on site. A further five project managers, four supervisors, two directors, a labour manager, a logistics manager and a support team of people in the office, in the factory and making deliveries were involved.

The logistics involved in achieving this included ensuring those on site had to be put through the necessary induction sessions, provided with access passes and PPE, found accommodation etc. All this was achieved in just three weeks.

To ensure as few delays as possible in getting the people and resources required on site, everyone involved in the project was issued with a document to present to police etc. as required, identifying them as carrying out essential work.

 

  • Working together

The delivery of Dragon’s Heart Hospital highlighted the value of the excellent working relationships Medical Gases has worked hard to build and maintain during its Thirty Severn years in the business:

Predictably, securing the necessary supplies during the Covid-19 shutdown was challenging and Medical Gases’ relationships with suppliers were paramount. Medical equipment manufacturer Precision UK in Stockport, whilst working under extreme pressure supplying the majority of the coronavirus emergency hospitals, still managed to manufacture the necessary medical equipment and provide the pipework, without which Medical Gases would not have been able to complete the project.

In the same way that Medical Gases has invested in building relations with suppliers, it has worked hard at developing its relations and reputation with the companies it works for. Which is how main contractor, N G Bailey approached Medical Gases for Dragon’s Heart.

Appreciating the need to properly look after those working on site delivering the contract, N G Bailey organised the re-opening of hotels to accommodate workers, arranging a room only service to stay within the shutdown guidance. They also arranged a free of charge temporary kitchen and dining room open from 7am to 2am on site, providing food and drink for workers 19 hours per day.

Dragon Heart COVID ward under construction
Dragon Heart COVID ward under construction

Knowledge and commitment

Few, if any, other companies could have achieved what Medical Gases has at the Principality Stadium. Being able to mobilise such a knowledgeable, committed team in such a short time is only possible when you have the longevity and scale inspire the loyalty that Medical Gases does. The company has worked hard over the last Thirty Severn plus business, developing relationships and knowledge, which means it can respond quickly and effectively when a challenge such as this presents itself.

Both onsite and offsite, the Medical Gases team pulled together to ensure the success of the project.

 For those on site, working under extreme pressure in terms of timing meant working fast and working long hours whilst maintaining Medical Gases standard of workmanship. One worker covered 47 000 steps in his shift, like most running around the site to get the job done. 12- 14 hour shifts meant staying away from home for three to four weeks continually, living in a hotel room where, for the safety of the hotel staff, there was no cleaning or room services.

“The commitment of the staff was a key factor. Everyone worked seven days a week. Everyone went the extra mile, whether that meant jumping in the car to deliver a part to Wales or anything else. I am so proud of my team and grateful to them. What they have achieved is incredible.”

Andrew Barrett, Managing Director

 

Maintaining Purity

Medical Gases is justly proud of delivering the Dragon’s Heart Hospital on schedule but as important as meeting the timing is ensuring the quality of the delivery. The project had to be signed off by the NHS Trust’s pharmacist, without which the facility is not fit for use, so all quality standards had to meet the pharmacist’s requirements. The project was signed off with no issues and exactly on time.

 

Medical Gases delivered this significant project at a speed not previously thought possible, and with no compromise on quality. It is a testament to all those involved. The Dragon’s Heart Hospital contract ran concurrently with a project to provide oxygen to the Royal London Hospital. We are immensely proud of all our staff, who have worked so hard to deliver, and showed their commitment in such challenging circumstances, and are grateful to the suppliers who went above and beyond to support them. Thank you all.

Critical oxygen system for Royal London coronavirus wards delivered in 21 days

Critical oxygen system for Royal London coronavirus wards delivered in 21 days

Critical oxygen system for Royal London coronavirus wards delivered in 21 days

Royal London Covid 19 ward

Project: Royal London Hospital Coronavirus Wards

Client: Barts Health Hospital Trust

Timing: April 2020

Value: £0.9M

 

Medical Gases worked around the clock to provide the essential oxygen delivery systems to two floors at Royal London, providing capacity for coronavirus patients to relieve the pressure on other hospital facilities and providing a lasting legacy of increased capacity.

 

Background

Barts Health hospital trust instructed Medical Gases to provide a system to supply essential Oxygen, Medical air 4 Bar and Medical Vacuum to the previously mothballed 14th and 15th floors at the Royal London Hospital serving 176 intensive care and high dependency beds. The project had to be delivered in three weeks.

 

The Challenge

Timing was the obvious initial challenge of the project, which necessitated condensing a project that involved over 6000 metres of pipework and 700 medical gas terminals, and would ordinarily take six months, into the three-week schedule.

 

Putting in the extra hours to deliver

Credit for the successful delivery of the project must go to the onsite team of thirty who worked twelve to fourteen-hour shifts during the contract to ensure its success, complying with the additional requirements of Covid-19 safe working. The team started on site on 7th April and fully completed, including commissioning, just over three weeks later on 1st May. Medical Gases staff on site and off, and the collective expertise built during the company’s 37 years of designing and installing gas delivery systems, proved its value. A less skilled or motivated team could not have achieved the speed or quality of result that was demonstrated in completing this contract in such a short period.

 

Teamwork to overcome access issues

Access is often an issue on contracts in London. In this case the challenge was having one service lift between the basement and the 15th floor for the circa 250 people working there. Due to safe distancing, the lift could only be used by four people at a time so there was a challenge for the team getting to the floors but there was also a challenge in getting the necessary material up. Medical gas degreased copper tube comes in six metre lengths which would not fit in the lift. Cutting the pipework in half to move it up in the lift and then joining it again would be far too time consuming and create unnecessary jointing. Working as a team, forty men, working two on each landing, passed the pipework up the stairwell between the handrails in a procedure which took four and a half hours but undoubtedly saved time on the project and achieved a superior result.

royal london pipes

Site access in lockdown

To ensure as few delays as possible in getting the people and resources required on site, everyone involved in the project was issued with a document to present to police etc. as required, identifying them as carrying out essential work.

Euston Council’s relaxed parking restrictions and NCP reduced parking rates meant many of the onsite team did not have to travel by public transport. Medical Gases provided electric scooters to those still using over ground trains to get from station to site.

 

Fuelling the workers

Although there was no onsite canteen the hospital provided workers with picnics. Medical Gases is extremely grateful to everyone who worked with them to achieve what was required and was also touched by the support of the community. The curry house opposite the site – Sonargaon Restaurant, Whitechapel Road – which had stayed open with a take-away service, supplied the initial team of thirty with a curry free of charge.

 

Increased capacity now and for the future

The new floors at the Royal London have provided six critical care wards, which have enabled the space that was used for Covid-19 patients to be returned to its previous use, allowing routine services like elective surgery to restart.

 

“This facility allows our teams to separate Covid and non-Covid patients, and will help us encourage other patients who require treatment, but have not been able to attend hospital in recent weeks, to come back for essential surgery or care.”

Jackie Sullivan, chief executive of the Royal London

Source: Evening Standard

 

“These new wards will be used for many years to come, both during this pandemic and to meet other health needs of our wider local population.”

Alwen Williams, Barts Health group chief executive

Source: Evening Standard

 

Medical Gases delivered this significant project, and a concurrent project to provide essential oxygen at The Dragon’s Heart Hospital, at a speed not previously thought possible, and with no compromise on quality. It is a testament to all those involved. We are immensely proud of all our staff and the 70 installation engineers, who have worked so hard to deliver, and showed their commitment in such challenging circumstances, and are grateful to the suppliers who went above and beyond to support them. Thank you all.