How Hcsuk Servicing is helping to keep care homes safe and compliant with LOLER testing of essential patient lifting equipment during COVID-19, in conjuction with latest HSE guidance

The HSE has issued new guidance for care providers on LOLER testing during the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) due to challenges faced by industry in meeting the requirements to complete statutory thorough examination and testing (TE&T) of equipment to meet duties under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

They have identified four key issues which may cause difficulties in completing routine TE&T:

• Reduced availability of engineers to complete TE&T due to sickness absence or self-isolation as a direct result of COVID-19

• Owners of equipment (dutyholders) refusing access to premises for TE&T as they feel unable to accommodate visiting engineers while maintaining social distancing (SD) in the workplace

• Refusal of engineers to enter a dutyholder’s premises to carry out TE&T due to concerns over social distancing arrangements being adequate

• Equipment being unavailable for TE&T if a workplace or site is closed due to COVID-19 SD restrictions

Effectively in these cases TE&T may not be taking place due to either unavailability of or unwillingness of competent persons to deliver the service, or due to dutyholder’s inability or unwillingness to give access to the equipment for testing.

CEO of the British Healthcare Trades Association, Simon Festing, has responded to concerns that health and care establishments are cancelling equipment maintenance visits; and that people may not receive the support they need for equipment in their own homes:

“Inspection and testing of equipment such as hoists and bathlifts is necessary to ensure these items continue to be safe for use, as covered under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER) Regulations 1998*.

“If establishments are in lock-down, consideration should be given to whether the equipment can be brought to an outside location for testing and maintenance. If this is not possible, a risk assessment should be carried out, balancing the risk of allowing access to the equipment in situ and then cleaning and disinfecting, against the risk of the item failing if it is not taken out of use until inspection and testing can be carried out.

“Service providers will need to exercise judgement to determine what would be classed as essential need based on a risk assessment around patient /client safety, especially where a home visit may be necessary to assess, install and service equipment.

“Hospitals and care establishments will need to consider the wide range of equipment in use and ensure essential maintenance is carried out. Access to deliver staff training on the safe operation of equipment may also be essential, especially if staff are being switched to roles they would not normally carry out.”

*The Provision and Use of Work Equipment (PUWER) Regulations 1998 also require that lifting equipment used at work is maintained, and a blanket lock down on maintenance may result in equipment that is used on a daily basis having to be taken out of use.’

HSE states
‘Care providers are expected to make all reasonable efforts to arrange for TE&T to be carried out within statutory time limits. Equipment should only be used outside of its test regime, if the dutyholder can demonstrate that its use is critical and that it can still be operated safely. They may have additional concerns that as well as possible problems in the availability of a competent person to undertake the TE&T, the vulnerability of those they provide care for means that additional COVID19 infection measures need to be implemented. Before agreeing to give the competent person access, they should undertake a risk assessment to review if the TE&T could be undertaken in a way that managed the COVID-19 risk to those receiving care and the visitor to site.’

Here at Hcsuk, we wanted to reassure you that our servicing division continues as usual, albeit with the following appropriate measures being put in place, to ensure that you can continue to operate your lifting equipment safely whilst remaining compliant and protecting your staff and residents at the same time:

  • All of our team members have undergone basic infection control and hand hygiene training
  • We are fully equipped with appropriate PPE, portable hand sanitisers and virucidal cleaner, and understand the relevance and correct use of them all.
  • We understand and comply with social distancing measures which have been introduced.
  • We are working with individual servicing customers to respect and comply with any specific requests to maintain hygiene and safety whilst on site at their premises.
  • We have issued additional items of uniform to allow for more frequent laundering to maintain optimum hygiene levels.
  • We have a range of moving and handling equipment available for purchase to eliminate the need for testing, and retain those out of test for subsequent use once they can be cleaned and examined at a later date.
  • Where possible we encourage portable equipment and slings be cleaned appropriately and moved within the premises to a point where infection control and social distancing measures can be observed to allow our team to complete thorough examinations, or it is exchanged with equipment that has been tested.
  • We maintain real time information on all of our servicing customers who have either suspected or confirmed COVID- 19 cases so we can be fully prepared and take extra precautions when attending these sites.

We can also help you with conducting remote moving and handling assessments, at a time when we can’t visit you personally. Our new Business Development Manager Jan Kelly, is a qualified equipment assessor and moving and handling is one of her specialised areas.

If you require any assistance please contact her on her mobile number 07968 994660 or email her at jan@hcsuk.co.uk

If, for whatever reason, you are unable to have your equipment tested in a timely manner, these are the steps you need to take:

  • Any equipment that is not needed is clearly identified as being taken out of use until arrangements can be made for TE&T at a later date.
  • Individual risk assessments are completed for fixed lifting devices where access cannot be arranged. This includes communication with the our servicing team about additional checks that could be undertaken to help reduce the risk to those being cared for and the staff. Equipment under these additional risk control measures need to be clearly marked, to ensure checks are undertaken and so the lack of TE&T can be remedied at the earliest opportunity (once current restrictions ease

Care providers need to document all of these measures, their risk assessments, decision making processes including, where relevant, the factors considered to justify continued use of equipment.

If you would like to talk to us further about any aspect of this article or to discuss how Hcsuk Servicing could benefit your organisation, then call Rachel TODAY on 01773 713713 or email her at rachel@hcsuk.co.uk

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Customer Testimonials

“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Hcsuk over many years, having used them to source, install and service our medical training equipment. We have always found the team very professional, helpful, and well-organised. We’d like to give a particular shout out to Phil, the technician / engineer who has been the consistent friendly face visiting our business to inspect and test our mobility hoists every 6 months. Thank you for all your support and advice.”

P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Savills Estate Agents

We would just like to pass on our thanks for all of your help with our orders and would be pleased if you would also pass on our thanks to the manufacturers for being so accommodating in meeting our requirements. We have found everyone very helpful.

Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

It is brilliant that we are able to ring Health Care Services and that you will go the extra mile to get us the stock we need as soon as possible.

Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistantly good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.

 

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