Vernacare Partners with University College London Hospitals to Improve Infection Control

"We introduced Vernacare’s disposal system at UCH because it is a best practice method of infection prevention. It is a key element in our Trust wide C. diff reduction campaign.” John Swanson, Senior Infection Control Nurse


Country: UK 


Solution: Vernacare System, Vortex macerators


Key Issue(s): Infection prevention, sustainability, staff productivity


Hospital Overview


University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) is one of the most complex NHS trusts in the UK, serving a large and diverse population. They provide academically-led acute and specialist services, to people from the local area, from throughout the United Kingdom and overseas.

UCLH see over 950,000 outpatients and admit over 156,000 patients each year and work with the Royal Free and University College Medical School, London South Bank and City universities to offer high-quality training and education.




UCLH have a constant drive to improve standards of infection prevention and were looking for a human waste management solution as part of their C.diff campaign. They also wanted to free up nurses’ time for frontline patient care and improve environmental performance.




UCLH replaced traditional bedpan washing with the Vernacare System of hygienic human waste disposal at its University College Hospital (UCH) site. The Trust has installed 70 Vortex disposal units across all hospital wards. This involved replacing plastic receptacles with a range of Vernacare’s single-use solution, including urinals, bedpans and washbowls. After each use, the products are placed in a disposal unit that breaks them down into a fine watery slurry, before discharging to drain. Vernacare worked closely with infection control and engineering teams to ensure personnel were fully training and supported throughout and after the project.



John Swanson, Senior Infection Control Nurse commented “We introduced Vernacare’s disposal system at UCH because it is a best practice method of infection prevention. It is a key element in our Trust-wide C. diff reduction campaign. The response from nursing staff has been extremely positive. It’s far quicker and more hygienic than the bedpan washer system we were using. Vernacare have helped train all staff in using the machines and their engineers provide us with ongoing maintenance and support.”

Stephen Bagot, Estates Manager, who chaired the installation project team, said: “The move to the single-use method was led by the infection control agenda. Having used Vernacare’s Vortex model at other sites we were happy with its performance and the fact that the waste thoroughly disintegrates, therefore doesn’t cause blockages. For this reason it was a logical decision to specify the Vernacare system at UCH. It uses less energy than the bedpan washer system and runs on a cold water cycle, so it also makes sense from an environmental perspective.”

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