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Modular Storage (HTM 71)
The need for better organised, more efficient stock control, storage, distribution and purchasing systems for health buildings is becoming increasingly important as efforts increase to achieve greater cost-effectiveness in all areas of the NHS.
The Health Technical Memorandum 71 (HTM 71), drafted and published by NHS Estates advocates high density modular storage systems which offer hospitals more storage space and greater flexibility at lower cost than any alternative.
The endorsement is unequivocal. “In addition to savings on the cost of storage units and building floor area, there can be added the savings achieved by the implementations of materials management systems, such as reductions in staff time, reduced stock holdings and reduction in waste.
When all these factors are borne in mind, modular storage and materials management systems provide significantly more cost-effective solutions than traditionally used systems.
As the Government places more and more importance on NHS procurement efficiency, the Service is now pushing for the use of HTM 71 storage, in conjunction with appropriate procurement strategies, to allow materials management and logistics to be fully implemented.
The specific benefits that can be enjoyed through the use of HTM 71 storage and materials management systems include reduced stock holding, tailored storage, easily visible stock, more efficient stock rotation, unique stock locations, improved ergonomic design and reduced capital charges.
In addition, high quality, HTM 71 compliant modular storage systems make a significant contribution in reducing whole life building costs, which is particularly critical for PFI projects. By promoting the introduction of materials management systems, HTM 71 storage opens the way to a range of significant savings in cost and staff time that have been identified in a study undertaken by the NHS Management Executive's Value for Money Unit:
A reduction of up to 66% in ward level stockholding, giving a one-off saving of about £38 million, if applied nationally
A reduction of 10-12% in stocks ordered, representing a recurrent revenue saving of some £35 million nationally
Better working relations between supplies staff and users and increased job satisfaction for supplies staff
About £1 million worth of nursing staff time released for more appropriate tasks
A reduction in ward storage space and improved access to stock.
“Nursing staff were among the first to realise the advantages it could bring them in freeing their time and providing them with better information and understanding of their supply problems... Managers realise the benefits of having Supplies staff use their expertise in controlling the supply chain and releasing them from the logistics of trying to manage distribution of supplies within their units.
Finance managers see great advantages in clear, easily understood management information available to them and other managers through the new systems.
As these examples demonstrate, HTM 71 has provided designers and healthcare management with the guidelines to plan and manage new and refurbishment programmes, while the extensive PFI schemes currently under construction and in planning are able to take advantage of all of the benefits. There can be no question that HTM 71 is an idea whose time has arrived.