Ensuring competence across key engineering roles

Following IHEEM’s work to strengthen and promote the role and importance of professional development and independent AEs across all its specialist engineering platforms, members highlighted the urgent need to actively support the development of AP and CPs. IHEEM’s Decontamination Technical Platform is now piloting a programme in Wales aimed at directly supporting such personnel. John Prendergast, an IHEEMregistered AE(D) leading the pilot, discusses the wider issue of engineering governance in healthcare facilities, and ongoing work to ensure that engineers at all levels are competent.

Engineering governance is a requirement to support the various healthcare services/ sectors across the United Kingdom (both public and private sector). One of the real concerns as regards governance is that engineering issues in hospitals and other healthcare facilities need to be addressed in accordance with relevant HTMs and standards. Equally, good governance needs to clearly establish and present the specification for the competency levels of the personnel responsible for the environment and equipment. This is becoming ever more complicated and technical.

Historically, hospitals and manufacturing plants have had engineers on site, trained and educated through industrial apprenticeships, with high skill levels, and - in the case of the former - able to maintain all the types of plant that hospital Estates teams and departments are responsible for. Today, however, a number of important questions arise, including:

1 Currently the various HTMs in use across the UK specify defined levels of accountability – from the CP(D) to the AE(D). Are engineers at all these levels trained and educated appropriately to conduct their tasks?

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