Each winter brings the same predictable ailments – influenza, gastroenteritis, bronchitis and pneumonia to name just a few – that with hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA, MSSA, E Coli and C Difficile, place an increased demand on hospital beds.
But as the winter of 2020/21 approaches, the Acadamy of Medical Sciences in London has written a comprehensive study citing understandable concern within the medical profession that the added strain of coronavirus (COVID-19), compounded by a backlog of routine procedures and clinical care – could push NHS facilities to breaking point.
This is particularly the case now that the UK is in lockdown 2.0, and where control and mitigation of nosocomial infection have been a challenge. And while the Government proactively created the Nightingale Hospitals at the outset of this crisis to provide further facilities, even these could prove to be inadequate in the likely event if a winter surge occurs.
So how will the NHS respond to the call for more bed spaces? One relatively simple solution is to remove the traditional curtain and rail privacy screens from open wards – which are in any case a known harbour for bacteria, with studies revealing that 92% of curtains tested were contaminated – and replace these with more hygienic, easily cleaned mobile medical privacy screens.
Featuring interlocking panels that can be folded into a compact space for redeployment or storage, they can be used to rapidly transform larger wards and non-essential spaces into treatment areas and patient cubicles.
Raised less than ten centimetres from the floor and standing at almost two metres high, the screens offer more patient privacy than curtains as their solid construction prevents see-through when backlit and are more effective at muffling sound. Their seamless, flat-panel construction makes them easier to clean and less likely to harbour bacteria, and the durable polyethylene used to form the panels is impregnated with antibacterial additives which, unlike a surface film, cannot be scratched off or eroded and guarantees lifetime protection.
Lockable castors allow the screens to be easily deployed and fixed in place, and as it is a modular system, more panels can be added to increase partition sizes.
Manufactured and distributed in the UK by Nojerm, the innovative Cleanscreen medical privacy screen system could be the answer to arrest the spread of infectious diseases in institutions. The Cleanscreen is an innovative and effective tool for infection control teams, ward managers and estates offices this winter to control infection transmission and have healthier institutions.