WaterSafe, the national accreditation scheme for plumbers in the UK, is backing the launch of new technical guidance on how to manage water systems in hospitals.
The Health Technical Memorandum HTM 04-01 has been updated by the Department of Health and sets out new recommendations for how hospital bosses should manage their water supply and storage systems in existing and refurbished buildings and when designing new ones.
This includes employing WaterSafe approved plumbers to work on hospital systems, as they have specific qualifications in the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations, designed to keep drinking water healthy.
Hospitals rely on safe, high quality water for hygiene in clinical and surgical care, and they also need to make sure there is enough drinking water stored to keep taps flowing should there be an interruption in water supplies.
The updated guidance includes:
- recommending NHS Trusts use property qualified, competent WaterSafe plumbers for all plumbing work
- requiring the establishment of Water Safety Groups within NHS Trusts to oversee how water systems are designed, installed, managed and maintained
- updated good hygiene practices that should be followed by plumbers and other Trust staff responsible for hospital water systems
- strengthened guidance about the water fittings regulations, approved products and notification processes.
Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, said: “Having safe, hot and cold water supply systems are vital for public health, and no more so than in a hospital environment.
“The good news is that WaterSafe approved plumbers have the expertise to readily assist hospital Trusts that need help, as they have specific qualifications in working safely with drinking water supplies.
“In fact, we are delighted the Department of Health recognises this too – WaterSafe is included in the guidance document with NHS Trusts encouraged to use WaterSafe-approved plumbers.”
WaterSafe was set up in 2013 to help protect the quality of drinking water and reduce the risk of contamination in homes and offices by rogue plumbers.