clearance manager should be someone who knows the site well, preferably from the estates department so that they can easily access information on the site services. A good coordinator, who can work with the clearance contractors and liaise with the appropriate hospital managers to resolve problems, is essential. It is highly recommended that the project manager does not undertake this task, as they often have a multitude of responsibilities; a separate individual should be appointed whose sole purpose is to oversee the clearance of the site. Appoint a dedicated clearance agent.

Find a company that can remove items that have no worth, sell items that have worth and has the experience to know the difference between the two. Be wary of agents who offer to buy equipment out right for a single price, as you will receive far under the residual market value for the items. These agents will buy the items cheap from you and sell the items on at a profit for themselves. OJEU. In order to take on a clearance

agent you will probably have to issue an Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) tender, unless the value of the clearance is quite low. You should allow yourself plenty of time to evaluate the applicants; always ask for a minimum of three references. Always follow these references up as competition is stiff and, sad to say, there are unscrupulous traders out there. All clearance agents will tell you they are the best, but it is past results that really matter. Once you have signed with the agent you are stuck with them, so make sure that you are stuck with the right one. Remember the contingency rule: if you want the best price for your redundant CT scanner then the longer the clearance and/or resale agent has to sell it, the higher the potential price as other hospitals may be interested in your equipment. This equipment may still have to be removed from site, so remember to factor in extra contingency time, and then double it.

6. Do not devalue your assets Staff can save the project a great deal of money by following these few, simple rules.

Keep track of ALL keys. Make sure

that any keys to drugs cabinets, mobile X- rays etc. that are not transferring to the new site are securely taped to the item. Without keys, many items are worthless but in almost every site clearance we have carried out keys are not left behind. Attach any manuals or service records to the items.

Internal doors. Leave all internal doors

unlocked unless it is essential that they are locked for safety reasons, otherwise you will be scrabbling around for keys at the last minute.


Brief the IT department. Refrigeration. Things often are

overlooked in closed refrigeration units and drugs cabinets are frequent recidivists. Mortuary clearance is large enough to be obvious, but do not be the first.

Brief the IT department. At some point

they will be going around the site removing hard drives from computers, and unless you are very careful they will remove the hard drives from all your redundant equipment, making it worthless, so brief them early. The realisation usually kicks just after you have just sold the item for thousands of pounds!

7. Work as a team

When one link in the chain of events breaks it has repercussions on everyone, from the staff nurse, to the patient transport manager, to the patients, the patients’ families and, of course, further down the line the clearance contractor and facilities department.

8. Focus on the task in hand In order to cope with changes to the schedule, regular meetings with key personnel are essential. These should take place every day when the move is in full swing. However, the meetings should include those directly responsible for each relevant department and should be focused purely on the task in hand.

9. Be flexible ‘Plan for change’ rather than ‘change the plan’. Keep control of any change in circumstances ahead of time, rather than trying to muddle through, as this often leaves the project vulnerable to unpredictable cost escalations. Your team needs to be flexible as well, do not include anyone in your project team who is known

to be difficult and do not like change, you will need ‘doers’!

10. Security You may feel the project is over and that you can move on, but any buildings and equipment is still your responsibility. Breaking and entering. The site and the old disused buildings will attract much unwanted attention. We actually bore witness to a large number of people descending on the site designated for clearance and set up camp. In the five days that it took to get a court order to evict them, they had managed to strip most of the lead off the roof, tried hacking through a live cable to remove a generator and endangered the £200,000 sale of an MRI by cutting the power to the coil refrigeration. This was an extreme case, however, every single empty hospital site is an easy targeted, so be prepared. Hire security from the outset. External security is always an issue, but managing the removal of a large quantity of equipment, personnel and patients also creates issues that managers may not be anticipating. Trying to oversee so many contractors makes it difficult to stop theft, as it is easy either for a contractor to purloin equipment or, more likely, thieves masquerading as contractors, to take advantage of the increased activity and vehicle movements.

Close supervision is imperative and this is not something that you want to have to manage yourself on a daily basis.

This far from exhaustive checklist takes no account of the myriad of issues that will have to be resolved. However, we hope that we have steered you away from the major pitfalls that we have seen befall hospital site clearances and projects over the decades.


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