The institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM) partnered with Air Sentry to deliver the 2023 annual Authorising Engineers Conference, held on 11th July at Epsom Downs Racecourse.
As decontamination specialists, AVM is a regular attendee at the conference, and this year members who made the trip included Authorising Engineer (Decontamination) Wayne Hurst, Head of Authorised Persons (Decontamination) Howard Walker, as well as Authorised Persons (Decontamination) Luke Mason and Hayley Stevenson.
As always the programme was comprehensive and enlightening, with topics of major interest to the AVM team including:
The importance of Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
This seminar highlighted the importance of CPD as a member of the healthcare industry, particularly those with higher accountability such as Authorising Engineers, Authorising Persons, and Competent Persons.
It included a demonstration of new the CPD logging portal designed to help healthcare professionals update and review CPD for themselves and staff including completion of courses, reading publications, attending meetings and tutoring, amongst other activities.
The CPD portal is a useful resource to log and track progress, helping regulators monitor standards and progress, and giving reassurance that practicing IHEEM members are engaging and keeping up with the constantly evolving world of healthcare.
Usefully, the seminar also highlighted that funding for staff CPD remains a challenge and that line managers should include allocation within their yearly budgets to factor CPD into yearly activity.
New PAM Software Launched
AVM found the module introducing a new Premises Assurance Model (PAM) software functionality particularly useful. PAM acts as a guideline for NHS estates and facilities, and evidence to demonstrate adherence to the document must be provided by departments across the site.
The new software, which allows PAMs to be completed online, was launched to accommodate Joint Accreditation Group (JAG) audits being performed online, so that evidence of compliance can be uploaded and stored.
Discussion on addition of Authorised Persons (AP) and Competent Persons (CP) to the IHEEM register
A key question was raised and discussed to determine whether adding APs and CPs to the IHEEM register is practical and necessary.
Currently, the IHEEM register only includes AEs (approximately 60 people) over a range of platforms (decontamination (29 registered), ventilation, water etc).
The point was raised that – given that a course is required to qualify and practice as an AP/CP – there is no evidence that their knowledge is being updated to remain relevant with evolving standards and machines.
Currently, whilst refresher courses are recommended, they are not mandatory. The discussion raised the point that by requiring APs/CPs to register and maintain a CPD log, it would be easier to regulate and validate the competency of individuals in these roles. Further updates on the matter are eagerly anticipated.
AVM, as always, found the annual conference very beneficial and looks forward to seeing how the industry develops over the course of the rest of the year.
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