Purchasing healthcare equipment is an investment for any care facility. Whether you’ve replaced all the beds on a hospital ward or installed a brand-new hydrotherapy pool, you expect your equipment to support staff and end-user needs for many years to come. So, much like you do with your car, you should be getting regular services to keep healthcare equipment in top working condition!
But what should you be looking for when choosing a care equipment service contract? This guide covers the key criteria you need from a service contract and what kind of healthcare equipment needs servicing.
What is a healthcare equipment service contract?
A healthcare equipment service contract covers the servicing and maintenance of pieces of care equipment – like hoist systems or care beds.
Going back to the car example, you can think of a service contract as a combination of breakdown cover and your annual service.
If something goes wrong with your healthcare equipment, then you can ring your service contract provider to arrange a repair (like breakdown cover). Your provider will also carry out scheduled checks on your equipment to prevent issues arising in the first place and perform maintenance work to increase the overall life cycle of the equipment (like an annual service).
What exactly is included in your healthcare equipment service contract will vary from contract to contract. Just like you get different levels of breakdown cover for your car, you can get different levels of servicing cover for your care equipment.
We will be looking at the key areas you should ensure your contract covers in section three of this guide! But first, let’s take a look at what kind of healthcare equipment needs servicing.
What kind of healthcare equipment needs a service contract?
All healthcare equipment should be regularly checked by staff to ensure it is safe and fit for purpose. However, not everything will require a long-term servicing contract.
You should look for a service contract for any healthcare equipment that has a long lifespan. I.e. it will be used multiple times by multiple users rather being single-use.
Servicing contracts are also critical for any healthcare equipment that poses a risk of harm if it deteriorates or malfunctions. This could include risk of immediate injury to users or carers, or risk of exposure to contaminants leading to increased risk of infection.
Regular servicing reduces the likelihood of something going wrong and therefore helps to protect patients and staff whilst using care equipment.
Here are some key types of healthcare equipment that require a service contract:
- Moving and handling equipment – like hoist systems and lifts
- Hydrotherapy pools
- Beds and Mattresses in multi-user environments
- Medical equipment – like ECG machines or medical gases
These types of healthcare equipment are used for many years. So, getting a service contract in place is a cost-effective way to reduce downtime and increase equipment lifecycle. It also allows you to budget more effectively as you won’t be hit with unexpected costs if you need an urgent repair.
What should your service contract cover?
The exact level of servicing cover you need will vary for each care environment. For example, if you have an overhead hoist system that’s used multiple times per day, you’re likely to need more maintenance call outs than someone who only uses their hoist system once a week.
However, there are five key criteria that need to be included in any healthcare equipment service contract:
1) Annual Servicing
As a minimum, your service contract provider should be coming out once per year to service your equipment.
This will allow them to carry out the routine upkeep required to maintain your equipment.
A scheduled annual service provides a basic Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) strategy. This is essential for identifying any potential problems and limiting them to reduce the chance of equipment failure and accidents.
2) LOLER Compliance
LOLER stands for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. These regulations are set in UK law and state that all lifting equipment must be inspected and tested every six months to ensure it operates safely.
So, when you’re looking for a service contract for hoists or lifts, make sure the provider you choose is LOLER compliant!
All Innova service engineers are fully trained in LOLER testing. To be LOLER compliant, checks should cover all components – including the electrical components like emergency stop and any batteries – as well as checking the weight limit.
Learn more about servicing and maintenance for lifting equipment in this guide.
3) Emergency Call Outs
Remember how we said healthcare equipment service contracts are like combining your car’s annual service with your breakdown cover? Well, it’s important to check that your service contract provider can handle the ‘breakdown cover’ part!
Check that your provider can deliver unplanned call outs for any breakdowns or repair work as well as the scheduled servicing and maintenance work.
Even with the best preventative maintenance measures in place, problems may still occur with your healthcare equipment. So, it’s important to make sure there is support available if you need it.
You might also want to check what the provider’s expected call out times are. If they guarantee to get someone out to you within 5 days, can you cope without the equipment until then? Or, would you be better off with a provider that can get an engineer on-site within 48 hours?
4) Trained Service Engineers
We’ve already touched on this when talking about LOLER compliance. But it’s very important to check that the engineer your provider sends is trained on the specific piece of healthcare equipment they are there to service/repair.
You don’t want someone who is only trained to service hoist systems auditing your hospital beds.
All our engineers receive product-specific training and know exactly what needs to be checked and tested before they come out to you. They are very experienced with our equipment, so if you have a specific issue, they might even be able to help you resolve it over the phone!
Healthcare equipment service contracts aren’t one size fits all. Frequency of use, the type of care setting, and many other factors can affect how much servicing and maintenance support you will need.
That’s why it is important to check that a service contract provider is flexible enough to meet your individual requirements.
Choosing a flexible provider also gives you the ability to upgrade your contract if your support needs change over time.
At Innova, we offer three different levels of servicing contracts – silver, gold and platinum. Each one provides different amounts of call outs and support tailored to suit your needs.
To learn more about Innova care equipment servicing contracts, please get in touch:
Regular servicing and maintenance of healthcare equipment is essential for enhancing the life of your equipment and avoiding breakdowns or accidents. A service contract is, therefore, a great way to maximise value for money when purchasing healthcare equipment. Whilst also helping to keep staff and patients safe when using the equipment. When choosing a service contract provider, there are five key criteria you need – an annual service, LOLER compliance, trained engineers, emergency call outs, and flexibility. Innova offer servicing contracts on all of our products.