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Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #63527
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Malcolm Offline
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Having only very brief experience in the UK, I ask,..is it not possible to separate entirely the electrical testing of "Portable Equipment" from the electrical testing of Medical Equipment or is it the same team employed to carry out testing on both groups??
Whilst there has been much said about the EN 62353 at least finally there is a standard that is far more pertinent to our field than the EN 601, in its various editions, ever was.
At last we have visual inspections, electrical safety and functional/performance testing grouped together, I'm sure you concur that a diathermy or similar that sails through its EST but erogates twice its rated output is never going to be deemed hazardous during an EST alone.
However the fly in the ointment is just how much time and money do have to carry out all of the required testing and whilst I agree whole heartedly with Geoff about auto-pilot EST I can still remember using an in-house built " break out switch box" ,milliohm and milliampere testers testing to BS 5724 but there were no time or monetary constraints(read HM Armed Forces).

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Malcolm] #63532
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Although it may be possible to provide lists of non-medical and medical electrical items, how are you going to deter the guys from Mutt & Jeff PAT Services, who (as has already been mentioned) are happy to just come in and "test" everything in sight that has a mains plug on it (and get paid for each piece of kit they apply a sticker to)! Different coloured mains plugs? Yet another "sticker" (colour-coded "dot" ... whatever)? Or someone to (waste time having to) accompany them the whole time - who may as well be doing the EST's themselves? think

To my mind, the "answer" (in hospitals, at least) is to bring back the whole thing (electrical safety testing of equipment with a mains plug) squarely under the control of the biomed department. Yes, kettles and all! If the biomeds lack sufficient manpower, then they can always seek to bring in someone from outside - but the exercise should always remain under the control of the biomeds!

But surely you haven't waited until now (that is, with the introduction of 62353) to be "told" to carry out visual inspections, functional and performance testing, and electrical safety tests at the same time, Malcolm? We used to call it PM ... or, if you prefer (as I do), I/PM.

Even back in the early days of "Electro-med" in HM Forces we used to do all that, although (in those days) we used to call them (monthly, quarterly, annual etc.) "inspections"! Never mind 62353, 601, or even 5724; what about HTM-8? Ha, ha.

But yes ... those were also the Happy Days when we had to "make do" with an Avo 8 and a (hand-wound) Megger. Plus (if you were lucky, a Camsafe - which no-one else on here has yet admitted to ever having heard about)!

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Geoff Hannis] #64040
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... sorry, guys. frown

Originally Posted By: Geoff Hannis

... but Robert has been known to go on about diphthongs as well ...


And now that acrostics have been in the news, no doubt we can also expect to see (or perhaps not, as the case may be) some of those on here, too. whistle

You have been warned!

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Barney] #65430
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Originally Posted By: Barney
The complication with all this 'PAT tester should not test medical equipment etc.' is that NO where in any UK law is it mandatory to PAT test. The IET (formerly IEE) write a code of practice, and that is all it is.

Under HSE and the electricity at works act you should undertake to ensure that electrical items are maintained in a safe condition and it is up to you what measures are chosen. The IET code of practice for the testing and inspection of electrical equipment is just that, a code of practice and can be adopted or ignored as long as a system is put in place to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained in a safe manner.

Barney


You're right Barney, but the problem is that the GP surgeries and other parts of what were PCTs and are now CCGs find that calling in a PAT company is the easiest way to prove that they have had things regularly maintained. Everything gets a sticker, and they get their QOF points (or whatever they are called now, because that was a PCT thing...)

I found this thread searching for help regarding equipment that had been in rude good health until a recent PAT event, and which has failed suspiciously soon since. The company which did the tests has, before now, "safety tested" a power supply pack with the most mangled wire you ever saw, and didn't balk at at sticking their equipment ID sticker and a "passed" label on it. I have yet to find out what their price per unit is, but that is how they seem to work... rolleyes

If we are going to play the regulation game properly, why is there no means of legally stopping these shysters who PAT things that shouldn't be PATed and sometimes blow things up?

It is right that the GPs don't know the difference in the regulations - they shouldn't have to know, or have to watch out that they are not being ripped off by double charging or false claims of competence from the testing companies. If the companies cannot offer an honest service, they shouldn't be able to get into medical settings in the first place.

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Clare Walsh] #65434
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There is a (well-established) company active in GP surgeries (and such like) advertising for staff on here at the moment.

Take a look at their website (which is very good). Most of the "questions" are answered there.

CCGs
QOF

... any more? think

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #65435
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Hello Clare

As I have previously suggested, where does it ever say (except on literature from a PAT or Medical Testing company) that you have to electrically test any portable equipment. The fact is you don't, whilst it may be a good idea and sensible all the law expects is that you put into practice reasonable measures to ensure the safety of electrical equipment. In most cases I would advocate all that is required is a formal visual inspection, the H&SE certainly do not have their computers and other office machinery electrically tested each year.

It is my opinion the health and safety culture has long ago left all common sense behind (common sense just gets in the way).

As for medical equipment, most equipment in hospitals are not tested as frequently as office machinery that seldom moves, furthermore the items tested are more than often connected to IEC leads that have never been tested. IEC leads pose a greater threat to safety than most medical equipment. So, in a PCT Doctors' surgery perhaps a PAT test is better than nothing. After all, after passing a visual inspection (the most important test) what hazard does a class2 (B or BF) nebulizer for example pose a patient? Other than a visual inspection what is the point of electrically testing a class 2 item anyway?

I'm sure that I will receive some replies.

PAT testing / electrical safety testing portable equipment has become a FARCE due to misleading information from companies profiting from the rip off.

Perhaps the link below will rule out all the lies and myths regarding electrical testing.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm


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Barney
Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Barney] #65436
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That's a good link, Barney.

But just to re-cap:- the OP (original post to this thread) was little more than a Clarion Call to BS EN 62353. But Mike was (is) right:- there is no need for "PAT" testing at medical premises.

Proper (medical) EST is a different proposition, however; if only in that it is (normally) carried out by folk with a bit of understanding of the issues surrounding the "clinical environment" as a whole.

But I believe that the emphasis placed upon electrical safety testing (EST) per se is slightly misguided, and that it is far better to think in terms of I/PM (inspections and preventive maintenance on a regular, scheduled, basis).

I/PM should include EST when and where appropriate (that is, in almost all cases involving medical equipment - if only on the basis of "seeing that we're already there anyway" [in front of the machine, and in the clinical environment]). And ... as I must have said at least a zillion times on this forum ... the real value of I/PM is that it brings a technician into contact with each and every machine on a more-or-less regular basis.

And any technician worth his (her) salt should "do the needful" (whatever is required to return the equipment to full and safe serviceability) whilst the machine is in front of them.

"A Stitch in Time Saves Nine" ... "A Place for Everything; and Everything in its Place" ... and all the rest of that Good Stuff (I'm sure y'all get the picture)! smile

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #65437
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Looking at it from another angle, I wonder what will happen when equipment in GP surgeries gets more advanced. So far the demise of the PCTs has meant that more GP surgeries are now carrying out procedures which previously would have been carried out in a hospital's outpatient department or clinic. Also given the push to treat more patients in the community, we're going to start to see more advanced equipment with district nurses.

Thus I wonder how long will it be before we start to see equipment coming in faulty as a PAT test company has given it a zap and not followed the correct shut down procedure?

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Chris Watts] #65438
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Yet again the "answer" (surely?) is to get some real biomeds in there ... and give "Tester PAT" the elbow, once and for all! rolleyes

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #65440
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Surely testing of medical equipment is more than just sticking it on an electrical safety tester. I would have thought that a few basic checks of function were needed as well.
We should stop talking about "electrical safety testing" and emphasise "safety testing".
Then Testman Pat would not get a look in.
Robert


My spelling is not bad. I am typing this on a Medigenic keyboard and I blame that for all my typos.
Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: RoJo] #65442
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Yes. Yes. Yes. But now that healthcare is being "driven from the other end" (as it were), the primary care medics, doctors, managers, bean-counters, commissioners (whatever) don't seem to appreciate the difference.

In many ways it's "back to square one"! frown

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #65445
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Has it been safety checked? - Yes - box ticked.
Can it be done more cheaply next time?

The way of the brave new world

Robert


My spelling is not bad. I am typing this on a Medigenic keyboard and I blame that for all my typos.
Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #65447
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RoJo is correct, of course there is more to checking that equipment is safe to use and gives accurate results than sticking a label on it. Unfortunately this is the tick a box stick a label on nonsense society we have become. I have been involved with electrical testing in its many different forms and I can say that PAT testing is a complete farce that exploits peoples' ignorance. This results in equipment that should be electrically tested being missed and other equipment being unnecessarily tested. It is not much good Joe Pat sticking a label saying test passed, safe to use etc. on a Vitalograph when the bellows are out of calibration, but whose fault is all of this? Is it Joe Pat trying to earn a living, a busy practice manager who just wants a bit of paper saying test passed or Med Eng Depts charging too much?

The answer is; what they want is a good dependable engineering journeyman (like myself and other greybeards) to go around local surgeries and advise them on what needs testing and calibrating and what does not. In fact after I retired a number of surgeries contacted me asking if I would continue in a self employed capacity. Perhaps I should have, but due to the high cost of the test equipment I declined. However I have always thought it a good idea to have a central pool of this equipment available for hire for people like myself to earn the odd shilling, even a club of greybeards. Until then when I visit my local surgery I expect to see Joe Pat labels on all and sundry.


Barney
Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #65448
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If anything I would say that it's the complete opposite, one thing I have noticed since the demise of the PCTs is the demise of Joe Pat. If anything it's one thing to sell PAT testing to a couple of GP surgeries or a bunch of district nurses, but it's far harder to sell it to commissioners and groups of GP's.

It just takes one Pat tester who is 'servicing' their medical equipment to not fix the equipment and refer it back to the local Med Eng department and they've lost the whole area. Therefore I'd say stick to the day job Barney, I think you'll find there will be less demand.

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Barney] #65451
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You forgot to mention insurance, Barney. frown

@Robert: here's what will happen:- all will be well in this Brave New World until there are a few juicy "incidents". Then "they" will be running around like blue-arsed* flies trying to find someone to come in and sort out the mess. Until then, keep your powder dry. Patience my friend.

@Chris: you're not reading the posts. For Barney and many other "greybeards" (including myself, by the way) there is no "day job".

* Are they any good at covering their blue arses, I wonder?

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #65456
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Well Geoff doesn't look like those "greybeards" will be in luck then does it. Since the start of the changes I've been out to some locations like a yo yo. I get a feeling that I visit one department (usually run by the Trust or commissioning group) and get noticed by another section. It does seem that if your actively visiting a site you'll have an advantage over somebody who just turns up for the day and will never be seen again until next year.

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Chris Watts] #65458
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Yes Chris, we know how it works. But don't worry, this "greybeard" at least is happy enough to leave it all to you. smile

Meanwhile, back at the thread ...

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #66082
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How about this thread, Mike ... it's probably the most recent one that mentions 62353. think

When you were saying before about folk needing to adopt (follow) 62353 ... actually, I agree with you.

But, as I don't have the actual document to hand (but only John Backes' handy booklet), perhaps you could spell out exactly what's involved.

For instance, can we regard 62353 simply as a sub-set of 60601 ... thereby allowing us to carry on using our old EST's (Electrical Safety Testers)? Or do we need to think about investing in new test kit? And apart from the Rigel *288, which others are available?

And, apart from the introduction of "new models" of testing methods (the Differential, and Alternative methods), what compelling reasons are there to "change over" (from previous or current testing regimes)? BTW: do those two new testing methods have any great (practical) value, would you say?

Also, where is 62353 mandated? DB- (or MDD) this or that? What's the latest (or current) status of 62353 from the "official guidelines" point of view (in the UK, that is)?

From my own (limited) research it also gets a mention in other domains, by the way. In some ECRI documents, for example.

The bottom line being:- if folk want to align their procedures with the latest thinking here, what do they actually need to do? What steps do they need to take?

* There's nothing wrong with Rigel test kit, but its always nice to be aware of what else is out there!

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #66083
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Think of a pyramid with the law and the top and the multitude of guidance documents as the base at the bottom. Standards, which are interpretations of the law, sit above all the guidance documents in the order of things. This is a little understood aspect of the legal side of things. Therefore, for the UK, this means BS EN 62353 is the document all those who are involved in medical electrical equipment need to use.

A guidance document will never take precedence over a UK or international standard in any legal proceedings.

Most 60601 based test equipment, can be used for performing 62353 test with some slight adaption of procedures, but real time and cost savings can be made if you use dedicated 62353 testers and adopt the alternative methods for leakage measurements, where practical.

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #66084
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And presumably all that is covered on courses being run these days at ... wherever biomeds get their training these days? think

Meanwhile, as background, here is one of the many articles by John Backes to be found on the web. Others may be found here.

Now, after re-reading the first article I linked to, I can in part answer some of my own questions. So, here goes:-

The Differential Method copes with secondary earthing scenarios such as those that may be encountered with isolated mains power supplies in operating theatres (on pendulums, booms etc. - the clue being that a LIM will be around somewhere nearby). Presumably because it doesn't "need" an earth to take its measurements.

The Alternative Method can be used to determine current leakage prior to activating the equipment (why would you want to do that?), or when testing in an IT environment etc..

Good, practical stuff, then. Although I'm still not clear about the "IT environment" bit, I must admit (no proper earth available, perhaps?). smile

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #66092
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The problem with an IT supply is there is no reference of the mains supply to earth, therefore the applied test voltage (the mains) would not be the full amount. The higher the earth-neutral voltage the less accurate the leakage readings will be. In other words the direct (like 60601) and differential methods need a TN-S supply to give accurate readings. (The N-E voltage should be less than about 7V.)

The differential method is safer for those performing any tests, including anyone else who may be contacting the equipment (or a connected peripheral), as the earth connection is never broken. This is also ideal for items that are allowed a higher equipment leakage current, such as mobile x-ray units (2mA rather than 0.5mA).

The Alternative method is especially useful where a device is PC based so needs a long time to boot up and shut down between test, such as many ultrasound units. No boot up and down required, no switching of mains polarity, no messing around. The measured value will be almost identical as an open neutral 60601-1 test, which is why the limit is 1mA rather than 0.5mA. This is the real time and therefore money saver!

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #66093
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Yes, your last point (especially) is a good one. smile

Although it could be argued that "real" electro-medical equipment has no business being in an "IT" (that is, non-medical) ("floating earth", or whatever) environment in the first place! I wonder what the manufacturers' documentation - not to mention legal teams - have to say about all that? think

But I can feel another box on the test sheet (or field in the database) coming on:- one that says which test to use (for each piece of kit).

Otherwise, each time the tech comes along to carry out his annual (whenever) EST, any hoped-for time saving is likely to be negated by him puzzling out which test method to go for! whistle

Once again the need for good record keeping is emphasized; as in:- "what did we do last time"?

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #66153
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Leakage current test methods:- Rigel .pdf. smile

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #66359
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Vignesh,
I have deleted one of your posts before as it was an advert for your equipment.
Please do not post adverts again or you will be blocked from this site.
RoJo

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Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: MikeX] #74055
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Hi Mike X,
Equipment (X-ray, ultrasound and laser therapy), type tested to 60601, but used in the veterinary sector, can anybody confirm or guide me to where the guidance is for vet market. I personally believe that if the equipment has been type tested to 60601, then it should be tested to to the 62353 standard throughout it's life irrespective of where it is used.

Thoughts please.

Many thanks in advance.

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Hi Winston,

It makes no difference that the medical electrical equipment is being used in the veterinary sector. BS EN 62353 (IEC 62353) scope includes all ME Equipment and ME Systems, which comply with IEC 60601-1.

As far as I know all medical electrical equipment used by vets will conform to the medical device directive (now medical device regulations) and will meet IEC 60601-1. Therefore it should be tested following 62353.

The IET Code of Practice for In-Service Testing and Inspection of Electrical Equipment specifically excludes such medical electrical equipment from its scope and refers you to BS EN 62353.

Hope this helps.

Mike.

Re: No more PAT testing of medical equipment! [Re: Winston Cox] #74061
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Hello Winston

I'm wondering why you had any doubt about this (why you would have thought otherwise); has some "expert" been giving you "duff gen"? think

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