How fitted furniture is helping to revolutionise infection control in UK Hospitals

Published: 8-Feb-2024

Tony Huggins, Managing Director of David Bailey Furniture Systems explains the situation that costs the NHS a staggering £1 billion

It is a sobering fact, but even the best hospitals, can unfortunately also harbour invisible enemies - harmful pathogens that cause healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). In the UK alone, an estimated 4.5 million patients contract HCAIs every year, leading to an estimated 9,500 deaths, a  situation which costs the NHS a staggering £1 billion, writes Tony Huggins, Managing Director of David Bailey Furniture Systems.

The grim reality of HCAIs includes MRSA, a notorious multi-drug resistant staph bacteria which plagues hospitals, making infections notoriously difficult to treat. Clostridium difficile (C. Diff), a spore-forming bacterium which causes severe diarrhoea and inflammation, also poses a major threat to vulnerable patients. A plethora of other viruses, bacteria and fungi lurk in hospital environments, waiting for an opportunity to strike – but what has this got to do with modern fitted furniture?

You get a better idea of the benefits when you look at the alternatives. Traditional furniture is fighting a losing battle with infections. Cracks and crevices, porous surfaces and hard-to-clean nooks in conventional furniture offer breeding grounds for pathogens. Bulky, movable furniture also impedes thorough cleaning and creates hidden corners where contaminants can linger and upholstery and wooden surfaces trap allergens and bacteria, making disinfection difficult.

Non-porous, wipeable materials, such as high-pressure applied laminates, eliminate crevices to make cleaning more effective

We, at David Bailey Furniture, have been fighting infection control for more than 40 years with our innovative range of fitted furniture solutions. Designed with hygiene and infection control in mind, these versatile products and storage systems are changing the game in healthcare environments.

Non-porous, wipeable materials, such as high-pressure applied laminates, eliminate crevices to make cleaning more effective. Integrated storage, worktops with integral upstands, drawers and cupboards seamlessly blend into the design, reducing clutter and minimising surfaces for potential contamination.

Smooth lines, rounded corners and sloping tops help to prevent dust and dirt accumulation. Antimicrobial surfaces also help to reduce the spread of germs together with movable sections and removable fittings, which allow for thorough cleaning in hard-to-reach areas.

How fitted furniture is helping to revolutionise infection control in UK Hospitals

Of course, new fitted furniture alone cannot prevent bacterial infections, but it certainly assists NHS Trusts to fight dangerous bugs. We can demonstrate, for example, that improved hand hygiene compliance and easier cleaning of surfaces can be attributed to installing fitted furniture in patient rooms and staff areas. An added bonus is the reduced staff workload due to easier cleaning and maintenance and improved patient satisfaction with the cleaner environment.

The benefits of good fitted furniture extend far beyond numbers. Reduced HCAIs mean faster healing times. Patients spend less time battling infections and more time on the road to recovery. Cleaner environments foster a sense of well-being and reduce anxiety for patients and families.

There is also a reduced financial burden. Lower HCAI rates translate into significant cost savings for the NHS, freeing up resources for other vital healthcare services.

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David Bailey Furniture's commitment to infection control goes beyond product design. We collaborate with healthcare professionals, microbiologists and architects to develop solutions that address specific needs and comply with the latest hygiene regulations.

With innovation at its core, David Bailey Furniture is paving the way for a future where hospitals are not just places of healing, but also centres of excellence in hygiene control, protecting patients, staff and the integrity of the healthcare system.

The fight against HCAIs is ongoing, but by embracing cutting-edge solutions like modern fitted furniture, we can create cleaner, safer hospitals and ensure that every patient's journey towards recovery begins in an environment worthy of their well-being – and we at David Bailey Furniture are delighted to be part of that journey.

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