Macclesfield District General Hospital, Cheshire

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East Cheshire NHS Trust is the main provider of acute health services for the people of eastern Cheshire, which has a population of 188,000. The Trust’s main hospital is Macclesfield District General Hospital (DGH), which has 365 inpatient beds. Macclesfield DGH is a modern, purpose built hospital, and was opened in the 1980s.

The main A&E department at Macclesfield DGH treated just over 49,000 patients in 2007. Additionally, approximately 134,500 outpatients were seen in 2007 across all specialities. The number of births at Macclesfield DGH was 2009. East Cheshire NHS Trust is in the process of shaping its services for the future in order to meet the acute health needs of the community.

This was an extremely complex challenge for our team and the proposal had to take into account the existing systems, the desire for accessible, appropriate, yet secure solutions, high levels of security for designated areas and the need for competitive whole life costs. Macclesfield DGH had also received excellent service support from our local ASSA ABLOY partner, Keyways, so we worked with them to deliver an enhanced, integrated solution that will not only be easy to retrofit into existing buildings, but provide increased flexibility and guaranteed performance levels for the next five years.

The refurbishment of Macclesfield DGH is a rolling programme which started five years ago. ASSA ABLOY carried out an initial scoping exercise which spanned 12 months, and a further eight months was spent developing and agreeing a detailed design specification. The solution was supplied and implemented over six months.

Macclesfield DGH already had a master key system, but there was one big drawback – the old system had come to the end of its patent protection and now anyone could produce and copy their keys. A complete new system was required. In conjunction with Keyways, an ASSA Twin Combi system was fitted throughout the hospital. In addition, a SOLICARD access control system was installed on sensitive areas. Access control provides registered passage through doorways so that even high-traffic areas can be locked without inconvenience and accurate user audit trails can be kept. The advantages of this within a healthcare environment are obvious.

We have supplied complete doorsets with factory-fitted ironmongery wherever possible to ensure that installation is fast and efficient. We have also specified solutions that are completely scalable for the Trust so that we can supply any number of doors with the same specification, at the same price from one to 1000.

In the current phase of development of the wards we have made extensive use of ASSA Evolution lockcases on new doors. Their robust modular design reduces costs and provides the flexibility to adapt to any future changes in the hospital’s requirements. These locks have been supplemented by the use of the ASSA Compact range on existing doors where it was necessary to upgrade the locks already fitted. The accompanying door ironmongery – such as ScanFlex stainless steel pull handles, ASSA Distinction 6650C return lever handles and 3248 journal supported steel hinges – was selected to complement the locks by ensuring high performance over an extended period of time.

Hospital doors are frequently subjected to heavy use and abuse, yet paradoxically also need to be operable by the elderly, infirm and disabled people. Cam action door closers such as the ASSA 250 and 330 were therefore used, as their high efficiency ensures that they retain their closing strength even though the door is very light to open.

We have also designed unique, one-off solutions which can be used for specific applications such as specialist sealed doors for radiography and high level security locks for the pharmacy.