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Contactless access for mental health facility

Samphire Ward at Chatterton House is a new acute care mental health facility in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. The build saw refurbishment of two redundant wards linked to create one modern compliant 16 bed facility at a cost of £4m, and operated by North and West Norfolk Care Group, part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The trust has over 4,000 staff and over 1500 access controlled doors across multiple sites. Many of these sites use a legacy building access control system called Continuim which is a bolt on module to Trend BMS, where all doors on this system are required to be wired on-line. Several years ago the trust wanted a more modern, contactless access control solution for their facilities. They specifically wanted cost savings by not having to wire all doors. SALTO access control was chosen for fitting to new and refurbishment projects, with a view to possibly retro-fitting across all the existing sites on a rolling upgrade basis as time and future budgets allow.

Security and Infrastructure Manager for the Strategic Estates department at the trust, Paul Evans, says “By choosing SALTO the trust were able to specify a mix of online and offline equipment. The cost saving for offline equipment enables the trust to specify more internal offline doors to become controllable as part of the access control system, thus giving us greater flexibility and security for our facilities.

“Given the nature of our work and that some of our service users can have really challenging behaviour issues, it is vital that for their safety and that of the staff, we are able to control access simply and easily yet securely into and around the many different areas of the ward, the administration area and indeed the rest of the rooms in the building. A standard off the shelf access control solution was not suitable as reduced-ligature hardware working with contactless smart access control was needed in the user areas together with anti-barricade doors, vision panels, automatic lockdown abilities, locker locks and a host of other special items and so we wanted a company with specialist experience in this field to carry out the supply and installation.”

After going out to a competitive open tending process, a local security specialist and certificated SALTO partner AC Leigh, based in Norwich, won the contract to secure the new facility. One of their lead designers, Simon Clarkson, worked with Paul and team to design and deliver the system. Clarkson, Health and Safety Director at AC Leigh says: “We listened to what Paul and his team needed and especially how they wanted to manage and control the building and delivered a completely focused solution that allows central administration of the facility using hardware and software from SALTO Systems as the core of the solution.”

On-line wall readers are used to control access into and around the building and these have been installed on main entry points, alongside bedroom doors and in ‘airlocks’ to control access from one area to another. Paul Evans says: “The latest SALTO online CU4200 control units were used on this project where data can be shared to SALTO slave control units via a single master control unit. This reduced the load on the already exhausted IT infrastructure which has meant that more online doors can be added to the SALTO system.”

Bedroom doors are all fail secure with mechanical key override and are also anti-barricade. The facility has the bespoke ability to operate a standard eight male, and eight female bedroom configurations. However, the trust wanted the flexibility to extend male or female bedrooms to ten bedrooms. This was achieved by two swing corridor doors. In standard operation, these powered swing doors are held open with electro-magnetic locks. In their swing scenario a key switch can be operated which releases the hold open magnet and energises the SALTO system powering a separate electronic locking device on the door. This enables the trust to easily maintain the required gender separation within the bedroom areas. Paul Evans adds: “AC Leigh were able to configure the required solution easily and train the staff in its operation accordingly.”

Other doors are fitted with Aelement Fusion smart locks. AC Leigh worked with the trust to design and make special reduced ligature handles and reader covers to ensure that ligature points were reduced in conjunction with DHF technical specification TS001:2013 enhanced requirements and test methods for anti-ligature hardware.

The consultation between installer and the trust took several months with multiple prototypes being presented to the trust for approval. Evans says: “After looking at all the various options, the trust is happy that the best solution for this type of battery operated offline door has been chosen and installed at Chatterton house.” He also confirms that the bespoke design would be used as their preferred solution on future projects for this type of door.

Meanwhile in staff areas XS4 Mini locks are fitted. In open common areas, lockers are equipped with XS4 locker locks enabling each service user to have a secure storage place for personal items. To operate the various doors, staff use their smartcard ID badges to gain access while service users use wristbands to access their bedroom, locker and certain permissible doors.

Tying all this together is SALTO SPACE, that enables operators to manage every door and user access plan on-site via web-based access control management software. Audit trail information from the doors is held for 31 days before deletion in accordance with the trust data policy.

Simon Clarkson adds: “The client needed precise tailoring of access levels and the SALTO access control solution has empowered them with an intuitive, easy to use but adaptive system. The use of this stand alone largely battery operated access control system will provide significant cost savings over the years to come compared with other systems, and will deliver a reduction in engineer call-outs and simplify system administration making for a long term secure and reliable access control solution for the trust.”


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