Operating Theatre Optimisation and HTM 03-01 Audits – What do they entail, and what do they achieve?

The NHS is under increasing pressure to perform and report on its achievements within the wider Sustainability Development Strategy in order to reach the targets set for 2020. However, this need not be just a tick-box exercise to meet compliancy there is also the bigger picture to consider. By undertaking assessments such as an Operating Theatre Audit, clinical teams can develop a greater understanding around the operational benefits of Facilities Management and gain a greater understanding of how changes in the operation and upgrading of ineffective equipment can have a direct impact on staff, visitors and service user’s experiences. Sustainability should drive the culture and ethos of all Healthcare organisations and by starting at the “coalface’, sustainable practice can be embedded into the day to day routine.

What’s involved in the Health Technical Memorandum 03-01 (HTM 03-01) Review

The Department of Health’s HTM 03-01 guidance gives Trusts comprehensive advice on all the legal and technical requirements for the maintenance and operation of ventilation systems on their premises. The HTM 03-01 guidance outlines how general and ultra-clean ventilation systems should be designed and tested. It also sets out the minimum requirements for the design of air-handling units with regard to controlling Legionella and safe access for routine inspection and maintenance.

Theatre Optimisation Audit

A fully invasive inspection of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems should be carried out in the operating theatres, examining energy loads in relation to all the current operational requirements. A comprehensive review will then look at ways to optimise heating/cooling control strategies, ventilation rates and humidification parameters whilst meeting the requirements of HTM 03-01. Any additional energy saving initiatives identified will result in a summary business case and comprehensive implementation plan being produced.

By improving the air supply in one theatre alone, a Trust can save around £5,000 per year, therefore an average Trust with 12 operating theatres could find savings of £60,000per year. If this figure was extrapolated to all the Trusts in England, it could mean a national saving of more than £9m and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 72,000 tonnes a year; Definitely an area worth considering!