New hospital air-cooling system to reduce temperatures ahead of heatwave

A new hospital air-cooling system is helping reduce temperatures in busy clinical areas – as a health trust takes measures to respond to this week’s heatwave.

Ward 32 team North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has installed several air-handling units to help improve conditions for staff, patients and visitors.

The new units are located in the tower block part of the University Hospital of North Tees site – where key services including maternity, respiratory, trauma, orthopaedics and urology are based.

The system is already having an impact – over the last week it helped reduce temperatures by an average of 5 degrees Celsius.

The unit is installed on the building’s roof – air outside is cooled and circulated through ducts to reach each of the rooms in the building.

Stuart Watkin, head of engineering, compliance and energy at NTH Solutions, who are a subsidiary of the Trust who installed the unit.

He said: “These new units will make a real impact in helping improve the experience of our staff and patients during the warmer weather.

“Not only that, they use around a third of the energy and are constructed to current air hygiene standards.

“These units are now monitored on our building management system – we can already see on there that they helped reduce peak temperatures from 28oC to 23oC last week, which works most effectively when windows are closed.”

The Trust has also issued some general warm weather advice to staff, patients and visitors.

Stuart added: “Ahead of the imminent warm weather, we would like to remind staff they can also help keep our buildings cooler by leaving windows slightly open at night to allow cooler air into the rooms, and of course closing  windows during the hottest parts of the day.

“Turning off equipment and lighting which are not being used also has an impact – as these generate heat.

“These measures will also help the organisation save money during a time when gas and electricity bills have nearly double.

“Of course, drinking water regularly is advised – our tap water is high quality drinking water – it has been tested as such every six months.”

Cheryl Camilleri, ward matron in the orthopaedics unit in the tower block, said: “This new system should make a real difference to the experience of staff and patients – and will be much needed ahead of the heatwave.

“It’s important we all take steps to remain as cool as we can over the coming days, including taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of water and fluids.

“We as staff always put patients first – and we will do again this week – but it’s important staff also look after themselves and each other during hot weather which create a challenging environment.”

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