The introduction of new analgesic delivery systems at the maternity unit of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STH) has been so successful that it is now being introduced into other areas of the hospital.
When the Obstetrics & Gynaecology (O&G) Unit at STH was replacing its existing delivery systems, it chose BOC's specially designed demand valves. The performance of the BOC system has persuaded the hospital to extend its use to patients in the Urology unit with other hospital departments also considering it as an option. According to Sue Arnold, the Healthcare Governance Coordinator for Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Neonatology and Urology at the Trust, "The BOC system is more comfortable and easier for patients to use. It also has lower maintenance requirements, which makes it good value for money."
Analgesic gases are widely used in childbirth. STH has one of the largest maternity services in the country with over 7,200 births every year. With women's experience, care and comfort at the top of its agenda, the performance of frontline equipment is a key consideration in the Trust's purchasing criteria.
STH O&G uses these gases both in the wards - where it is supplied through the hospital's pipelines - and also in the community. STH has the highest home birth rate in Yorkshire and the Humber. This means that some of the equipment used in the hospital environment has to be taken safely into women's homes. The fact that the equipment is easy to clean was an important infection control consideration.
In both hospital and community situations, women breathe the mixture through BOC's demand valves, specially-designed and manufactured by BPR Carnet®. When these were first trialled in the maternity unit, they proved an instant success. "Women commented on how easy they were to use - and how comfortable they were," notes Sue Arnold. "That was an important factor for us, as we are trying to help expectant mothers relax and feel rested as they prepare to give birth."
But patient comfort was not the only factor in the eventual purchasing decision. "We have not had a single unit needing to be repaired in the first four months of the contract," explains Sue Arnold. "That is a marked improvement on the previous system. We have all the units available to us all the time. In addition, routine maintenance is reduced: although they have the mandatory safety check each year, a full service is only required once every three years."
All in all, Sue Arnold, says, the new BOC demand valves have delivered significant benefits. "Women find them easier and more comfortable to use. They are easier for our staff to administer and with fewer repairs - indeed none so far - our Bio-Medical Engineering Department can focus on other issues. It's been a win-win situation."
Indeed, Sue has been so pleased with the system she has entered it into the NHS regional Innovation Competition.