By investing in an electric-operated gas bottle mover from MasterMover Ltd, Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust has improved handling efficiency and has reduced the risk of accidents to both patients and porters when moving gas cylinders.
"Since investing in the gas bottle mover from MasterMover, the hospital has benefited from a much safer workplace for both patients and staff," states Paul Moon, Portering Manager at Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust. "The handling efficiencies of our porters, who use the bottle mover on a daily basis, has also improved significantly," he adds.
Paul Moon qualifies his statement: "Moving gas cylinders around the hospital is absolutely critical. It is important to be able to respond quickly if the A&E department, for example, requests an oxygen cylinder urgently. We need to be able to transfer that bottle from our central gas bottle store to the A&E department quickly and safely. MasterMover’s gas bottle mover has certainly improved that process considerably."
The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust is a teaching hospital for the University of London, which obtained University status in 1997 because of the role it plays in undergraduate education and research. In addition to most of the services of a traditional general hospital, it also offers specialist services in Paediatric and Neonatal Surgery, Neonatal intensive care, Cystic Fibrosis and Ear, Nose and Throat services. With more than 2,500 members of staff, it is one of South East London’s largest employers.
Paul Moon is responsible for 35 porters at the hospital. Prior to investing in the gas bottle mover from MasterMover, gas bottles were moved by a porter from the central stores (which houses around 500 cylinders in total) to their destination using either a trolley or were carried manually, which carried a health and safety risk to both the staff who were handling the bottles and to patients.
On a typical day, we need to move around 16 or 17 gas cylinders around the hospital. This includes moving the bottles across uneven, cobbled ground outside and moving up sometimes steep inclines. Using a trolley, which held a maximum of three cylinders, a porter would need to make five or six separate journeys from the central stores to other departments. This was taking up valuable time that the porter could be using on alternative tasks.
After seeing a demonstration of MasterMover’s SmartMover machine for moving clinical waste roll cages around the hospital, Paul Moon asked MasterMover if they had a solution to moving gas cylinders around the hospital more safely and efficiently. Anthony Brown, Sales Manager Healthcare at MasterMover recommended the company’s Gas Bottle Mover.
The Gas Bottle Mover is purpose designed and built to address the problem of transferring gas bottles safely and quickly around a hospital. The machine supplied to Lewisham Hospital is capable of moving up to 16 bottles (four large and 12 small bottles) of various sizes in a single journey, enabling the porters to make more efficient ward deliveries with a dramatic reduction in manual handling.
The machine incorporates a number of safety features. As well as providing throttle control and an electromagnetic safety brake, the machine also includes safety chains, which prevent bottles from falling off, and access ramps to ease the handling of larger bottles onto the machine. The Gas Bottle Mover is slightly smaller than a typical hospital bed, enabling it to fit easily into a hospital elevator.
All the portering staff at Lewisham are fully trained, or are in the process of being trained, to use the Gas Bottle Mover. As Paul Moon explains: "Initially, we had an onsite training session provided by MasterMover. Learning to operate the machine was very straightforward and only took around 30 minutes. Our trained porters are now conducting training for the rest of the portering team."
The Gas Bottle Mover meets the latest Health & Safety Executive (HSE) regulations for the handling and use of gas cylinders. As MasterMover’s Anthony Brown advises: "The HSE recommends that gas cylinders are moved in a vertical position rather than horizontal to minimise the risk of valve being damaged. The bottles also need to be securely restrained to prevent them from falling over."