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Q & A - Your Questions Answered

Over the past few months various Healthcare Providers have come to us with questions regarding whether their load release curtain tracks, blinds and other items required to be load tested on an annual basis.

All Mental Healthcare Providers carry out internal ligature review audits either monthly or as frequently as they deem appropriate and that is correct and very much needed. However, some providers have not realised the requirement that is set out by the HTM66 as well as manufacturer's O & M guidelines, and this could be leaving themselves open for potential litigations.

This is where we can HELP.

What am I legally meant to be doing?

A Safety Notice published 11th January 2002 SN(01)01 states - "In adult psychiatric setting, any cubicle track, curtain track, shower track and wardrobe rails with load release support systems must be maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and subject to an annual safety load test to ensure that the device functions correctly."

Whilst the HTM66 states - "Once installed, ensure regular maintenance checks and load tests are carried out according to manufacturers’ instructions".

Each manufacturer has their own set of guidelines for maintenance and it is important to understand what these mean for you so as the maintenance and testing is carried out correctly.

Are my ligature review audits good enough?

No, the ligature reviews are an important part of this and are required to better understand the environments, so as changes can be made as new ligatures are picked up. However, these are only part of what is required and the annual load testing is still a must. Having an independent company carry these out, different to who usually installs the products, also means all areas get an impartial inspection, more details can be found here.

Who is responsible for carrying out these load test?

Each Healthcare Provider is responsible for carrying this out whether it is the task of the Health & Safety, Compliance, Estates Team or FM provider, someone in the organisation is responsible for this.

Who can carry out the annual load testing and do they need to be approved?

Annual load testing can be carried out by any competent and/or approved person/company. It is recommended it is carried out by a independent/separate company to who normally installs within the buildings so that an unbiased view is taken when inspecting and testing the assets. Some manufacturers have different guidelines in regards to what is to be tested and so it is important to ensure the person/company that you instructing has an up to date understanding of this.

Why is Protects Plus the only company approved to annually test the Kestrel Magnetic Anti-Ligature System?

Yewdale, the manufacturer of the Kestrel Magnetic Anti-Ligature system gave exclusivity for the annual load testing of their system to Protects Plus early on in 2022 due to being involved with some incidents within a number of NHS and Private Healthcare Providers.

The incidents were where Kestrel products had been either installed, maintained or tested incorrectly resulting in the products not functioning as they were designed to do, resulting in them malfunctioning. These could have caused some serious accidents and the Healthcare Providers called for more to be done to better protect themselves and Yewdale.

Various solutions were put to the Healthcare Providers and the preferred option was that an independent agent, (different to the installation company), was appointed to test and inspect the Kestrel system. This was where Protects Plus was instigated by the Directors of Yewdale for the servicing and testing of all anti-ligature / reduced ligature items across the UK. This provided the audit trail Yewdale required. Yewdale reported back to the Healthcare Providers that this action had now been taken and this was greatly received.

Yewdale have laid out very stringent test procedures that Protects Plus are to adhere to as well as a fixed price matrix to ensure Healthcare Providers are supported with the required compliance level at the most competitive rate possible. This is regularly followed up on to ensure this is being maintained.

Can other companies still install the Kestrel Magnetic Anti-Ligature System?

Absolutely, any competent person/company can install the Kestrel products as per their fitting instructions and those who have undergone the in house Kestrel Training course, and have an up to date certificate, can install the Kestrel cubicle/shower tracks too.

Can Protects Plus annually test other manufacturers system too?

Yes, Protects Plus can test all types or load release items in the Healthcare sector, a list of the common items can be found here.

How is the annual testing managed and data reported?

Protects Plus offers a full maintenance schedule which gives the client full access to the calendar schedule where site visits are clearly visible and planned.

Engineers carry out the inspections and load testing and upload the results via app to the purpose-built software. Clients can then access the software via the web-based portal to view all asset test results and download reports for each room, ward, building etc as required.

Regular contact is maintained during the contract and plans are then made to carry out the next annual testing when it is next due.

For more information or if you have any other questions, please reach out as we would love to hear from you or why not book a Teams Meeting today

Email: or Call: +44(0)345 646 0955

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