Case Studies

Ensuring Compliance in Assisted Bath Installation

Tag: Assisted Living, Compliance, Installation, Wellbeing

Reval were recently approached by a private client seeking to replace an assisted bath for her son.

The previous appliance was removed due to its age and non-compliance with UK water by-laws. During a random inspection by the local water provider, it was found that compliance could not be provided by the manufacturer, necessitating the removal of the old system.

The Compliance Challenge

Non-compliant assisted bathing systems and manufacturers are surprisingly common in the UK healthcare market. As of 30th May, only two manufacturers, including Reval, are listed as compliant on the Water Regs UK-approved product and materials register. This implies that nearly 80% of assisted bath manufacturers selling and installing products in the UK are non-compliant, making them unsuitable for connection to the main water systems.

Client’s Dilemma

Our client requested our product specifications and compliance certification as per the 2024 Water Regs UK guidelines. Approval from the local water provider is required at least 10 days before installation to avoid serious practical and financial consequences. We provided the necessary compliance proof and a quote for our appliance.

The client, concerned about compliance, asked us to verify the compliance of the other manufacturer and model. We found that neither the company nor the model was registered or certified under Category 5 / BS6920. We communicated this to the client and provided evidence from the Water Regs UK register.

The Local Authority, despite the evidence, insisted that the non-compliant manufacturer assured them of their compliance, based on their past usage without issues. This stance placed our client in a difficult moral and legal position. After further discussion, the Local Authority agreed to part-fund our compliant appliance, although they disappointingly valued it at the same rate as the non-compliant option. Thankfully, the client chose to proceed with our product, ensuring long-term compliance and safety for her son.

This case is not unique in our experience with local authority social care departments. Historically, assisted bathing compliance has not been well-publicised by regulators and water providers. There is also a lack of enforcement and awareness by organisations like Trading Standards, MHRA, and CQC. Compliance with standards such as BS6920 is legally required, but responsibility also falls on owners, operators, and those involved in the construction and specification of healthcare facilities to ensure compliance.

In contrast, NHS Estates Departments have stringent compliance controls, ensuring only approved appliances are used in NHS hospital facilities. This is likely due to the critical nature of care and the need to maintain high internal standards to protect those at greatest risk.

Reval has been a proponent of quality and compliance in healthcare for over 20 years. The 2024 Water Regs UK guidelines provide clear directions for owner-operators and community-based healthcare providers. Enforcement of these guidelines is crucial to protect vulnerable individuals and ensure the safety of facilities.