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New NHS mental health facility chooses smart access control solution

New NHS mental health facility chooses smart access control solution
Managing over 4,000 staff and controlling 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.
While nationally this is a problem, there is good news in East Anglia with the opening of the 16 bedroom Samphire Ward at Chatterton House, a new acute care mental health facility in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. The build comprised of a refurbishment of two redundant wards linked to create one modern compliant 16 bed facility at a cost of £4m which is operated by North and West Norfolk Care Group, part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The new facility is one of many sites across Norfolk and Suffolk that fall under management of the trust. Managing over 4,000 staff and controlling 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 in Norfolk and Suffolk. They specifically wanted a solution that offered 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 the new solution 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 was 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.”


Evans continues “Given the nature of our work and that some of our service users can have really challenging behavior 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, 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 his 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 controlling 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 8 male, 8 female bedroom configurations. However, the trust wanted the flexibility to extend either male or female bedrooms to 10 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 energizes 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 comments “AC Leigh was 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 closely with the trust to design and manufacture 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 AC Leigh 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 smart XS4 locker locks enabling each service user to have a secure storage place for their individual 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 a flexible, fully integrated electronic locking and software platform that enables operators to effectively manage every door and user access plan on-site via powerful 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 concludes “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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