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The importance of intelligent design
UK healthcare businesses are under more pressure than ever before to ensure that every pound spent helps to achieve better patient outcomes.
Whilst the majority of technological investment within healthcare businesses justifiably tend to be focussed on minimising disruption and reducing waiting times, the use of technology to improve the overall experience for patients and staff alike should be equally important according to Philip Lawrence, Managing Director at Garran Lockers, which is believed to be the UK’s fastest growing locker manufacturer.
“Let’s look at accessibility for example,” he said.
“In addition to legal requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 (DDA), healthcare businesses typically include items such as ramps, rails, lowered reception or office areas and /or specific equipment to improve the overall accessibility within the healthcare environment.”
However, when it comes to changing rooms or public facilities, in addition to accessible toilet provision, it is certainly worth considering how lockers can be integrated to maximise both usage and aesthetics he added.
Mr Lawrence explained: “Following enquiries from a number of existing and new clients, Garran Lockers developed a range of lockers in partnership with the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) specifically to help providers meet the legal obligations under the DDA.”
Known as the Equalizer Locker, the locker design incorporates a number of specific features and benefits including a raised plinth and bridge design for wheelchair access; large tactile numbers in contrasting colours to aid visually impaired users; large handles to make opening and closing the lockers easier; user-friendly storage heights and large doors that open wide enough for all users.
Pistol grips on keys to enable users with hand or joint challenges to operate locker keys more effectively are available as are tactile key tags to aid visually impaired users.
Aesthetic design also plays an important role in the overall user experience of patients, visitors and staff.
For example, research undertaken by a number of renowned architects in the US, shows that well-designed healthcare facilities can boost these organisations’ outcomes significantly.
Gene Klow, a leading architect from RMJM HKA in Los Angeles with over 35 years’ experience, said; “It’s vital that the functionality of a hospital remains at the forefront of the design process. For a hospital to operate successfully, every aspect of the design must be considered.
“The layout can affect the life and death circumstances of a patient because time is often a critical factor in a patient’s care.”
“Whilst lockers are often located in staff changing rooms, there is no reason why they should not form part of the ward or public areas’ design and usage. With a huge range of colours and finishes available, there really is no reason why lockers should be ‘invisible’”, added Mr Lawrence.
“As well as the significant body of evidence around the positive effects colour can have on enhancing emotional wellbeing, good design principles include everything from design to improve privacy to maximising security,” said Mr Lawrence.
Garran Lockers’ Z locker, for example, is ideal for when space is at a premium. These lockers are designed so that each locker compartment can comfortably hang up a coat or similar. The Z locker is fitted with internal clothes hooks, available with laminate doors and come in a range of colours.
Yet healthcare businesses are often at the centre of pressure from outside forces and are required to meet a wide range of challenges resulting from today’s constantly evolving marketplace said Mr Lawrence.
He commented: “This can include the need for the establishment to widen its appeal or the need to improve security within the premises or having to deal with rising redevelopment or improvement costs.”
Having worked with several healthcare providers across the UK, Garran Lockers’ bespoke design and manufacturing capability means healthcare businesses are able to secure the specific storage solutions that enable them to meet their exact needs.
As well as quality and reliability, Garran Lockers offers easy access to its in-house design services, and is able to offer advice based on several years’ experience working with the healthcare sector, irrespective of the size or restrictions of the changing area or storage area concerned.
Garran Lockers continually invests in incorporating the latest technological developments from smart payment locks to antibacterial coatings from its newly commissioned finishing plant.
Existing features include an integrated sloping top as a standard part of the unit whilst all steel lockers are spot welded together rather than alternatives using weaker riveted solutions.
The lockers have vented doors to aid air circulation and the doors are fully stiffened to close against a 10mm flattened and safety edged doorstops on each side.
Garran Lockers currently offers the widest range of ‘built to measure’ and standard lockers available. Lockers are available in a range of tiers from one to 10.
When considering the establishment’s specific security requirements, Garran Lockers is able to offer a number of options from standard steel lockers to its tough Titan range.
This includes a range of lockers with Solid Grade Laminate (SGL) doors fitted to a steel carcass with a bolt through super-coated hinge in. This gives you a locker with the combined advantage of SGL doors combined with the strength of the spot welded steel carcass.
The result of this marriage is an extremely robust locker built to resist vandalism at an affordable price.
Garran Lockers’ Titan and Titan Plus lockers are more robust and can help eliminate the damage that can often happen when lockers are badly used. The doors and stiffeners are made from 1.2mm steel and are safety edged, then secured to specially strengthened pillars.
These lockers are ideal for any area where there is heavy usage or where damage may be a re-occurring problem.
Titan Plus offers the same range of features and sizes as the Titan but with an even heavier gauge mild steel door. Doors and stiffeners are made from 1.5mm gauge mild steel.
Garran Lockers offers a complete range of sizes from a junior locker for younger users, a full length locker to a 6 tier unit, with flat or sloping top, in sizes from 1800mm x 300w x 300d to 1800 x 450w x 450d.
A range of locking options are available from camlocks fitted with two keys to coin/ token return locks to combination or electrical locks.
When it comes to the use of colour within the healthcare environment, function ought to reign over aesthetics every time, explained Mr Lawrence.
“Large amounts of bright colours, especially reds and oranges for example, have been shown by several studies to have the potential to cause over-stimulation whilst colours such and blue and green tend to have a largely calming effect.”
Garran Lockers offers a choice of colours and finishes with locker doors available in everything from standard steel to laminate coatings to specifically branded lockers.
For changing rooms or cloakrooms, Garran Lockers offers double or single cloakroom bench units that can be supplied in a variety of sizes to suit the establishment’s specific needs.
Benches are manufactured from 50mm round heavy duty tube, with ash or SGL seating, hook board and back seat. The overall height is 1675mm with a seat height of 400mm.
What customers in the Healthcare Sector had to say
“We find Garran’s lockers very practical as well as meeting all the ‘health and safety’ standards. The new colour combinations help us make the changing areas bright and modern or sympathetic to decor when installed in the ward areas.” Pat Cuss, Frimley Park Hospital
Under the government initiative to improve NHS services many hospitals have undertaken major re-development projects. Storage and changing facilities are a vital component in the hospital refurbishment work and are expected to provide practical storage areas, and to comply with the stringent health and safety standards.
That’s why many hospitals turn to Garran Lockers to help them design and implement the high standards storage solutions that are known in the sector for their practicality, their ease of access, as well as their quality and reliability, irrespective of the size and other restrictions of the changing area or storage area concerned.
Help to meet the NHS Cleanliness Standards
In addition to practical and easy to access storage facilities, the fundamental requirement of the NHS is to ensure the high level of cleanliness throughout the whole hospital area and lockers are often required to be used in very clean and ‘high risk’ areas where risk of contamination has to be avoided at any cost.
As the UK’s major supplier of specialist storage lockers to the NHS sector, Garran Lockers delivers lockers protected with a special anti-bacterial powder coating to remove any traces of bacteria that can potentially cause disease and infection. In addition, the locker doors are manufactured with ‘logo vents’ to assist air circulation in each compartment.
Customers in the NHS Sector
Garran Lockers have been delivering the bespoke storage lockers to many UK hospitals for 50 years including Greater Glasgow Hospitals, Frimley Park Hospital, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, Royal Free Hampstead, Barts in London, Rampton Hospital and Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust, among many others.
Garran Lockers in brief
Garran Lockers has over 50 years’ experience designing and manufacturing top quality steel lockers for catering and green keeping staff, emergency services, education and leisure facilities.
The company joined forces with Cambridge-based Craftsman Lockers, Britain’s largest manufacturer of timber lockers to deliver top quality, ongoing innovation and value to its customers across the UK and Europe.
Garran Lockers and Craftsman Lockers are both part of the newly-created Ice Locker Group.