University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has replaced traditional bedpan washing with the Verncare System of hygienic human waste disposal at its University College Hospital (UCH) site.
The move is helping to improve standards of infection prevention, free up nurses’ time for frontline patient care, and improve environmental performance.
The trust has installed 70 Vortex pulp disposal units across all hospital wards. This involved replacing plastic receptacles with a range of Vernacare’s single-use solutions, including urinals, bedpans and washbowls. After each use, the products are placed in a disposal unit that breaks them down into a fine watery slurry, before discharging to drain.
John Swanson, senior infection control nurse, said: "We introduced Vernacare’s disposal system at UCH because it is a best-practice method of infection prevention. It is a key element in our trustwide C.difficile reduction campaign and the response from nursing staff has been extremely positive. It’s far quicker and more hygienic than the bedpan washer system we were using."
Estates manager, Stephen Bagot, who chaired the installation project team, added: "The move to the single-use method was led by the infection control agenda. Having used Vernacare’s Vortex model at other sites we were happy with its performance and the fact that the waste is thoroughly macerated, means it therefore doesn’t cause blockages. For this reason it was a logical decision to specify the Vernacare system at UCH. It uses less energy than the bedpan washer system and runs on a cold water cycle, so it also makes sense from an environmental perspective."