Manager of the Electro-Biomedical Engineering (EBME) Team Brian Jolley, tells us more about the role of the team in the COVID-19 response.
Can you explain the role of the team, what it usually involves and where you are normally based?
We are responsible for the set-up, maintenance and eventual decommissioning of more than 17,000 pieces of patient connected equipment, across the whole of BSUH. We operate two workshops, one each at The County and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH), three equipment libraries and have a group that supports the work of the Sterile Services Department. There are twenty people in the team and we go wherever the need for equipment set up and care takes us.
How has the team had to change and adapt? Have you changed working locations at all?
There has always been a need for our team to be flexible because medical technologies can change very rapidly. A call to do an emergency repair on a piece of equipment can completely change our plans on any given day. The need to test and prepare the new and loaned equipment during COVID-19 though, has been liked an emergency call that has lasted weeks. We’ve had to prioritise our efforts to meet that need while making sure that vital maintenance work is carried out. It’s required us to be even more flexible about how we work individually and as a team.
We haven’t changed location but we have expanded at the Brighton site. Our workshop at PRH had the space to cope with the influx of new equipment but our temporary workshop, in St Mary’s at Brighton, would have been overwhelmed. Thankfully Laing O’Rourke, the construction company leading on the 3Ts Redevelopment, were able to help. They have made a large room on level 3 of the new building available for our use, installed the power supplies we need and put our RSCH team through the construction site induction very quickly. It’s allowed us to work much more efficiently in preparing the additional COVID-19 equipment.
What has been challenging?
With these technologies there is very little room for reducing set up and testing times. It takes as long as it takes. The only way we could meet the challenge of preparing the extra equipment was by our team members putting in more effort, something that everyone has been willing to do.
The advantage of having the space in the 3Ts building also presented one hurdle. There is currently no way from the building to the rest of the site. This has meant that once the equipment is ready for use it has to be safely transported by van, from the back of the Stage 1 Building to wherever it is needed.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the entire team. They have worked relentlessly to ensure that our patients have the necessary equipment. While keeping the vital equipment maintenance programme running across the Trust they have brought nearly £2,000,000 worth of additional equipment online to support COVID-19 patient care. The amount of behind the scenes clinical engineering activities that is being carried out by the team is amazing, and I cannot thank them enough for their support and efforts.