Comprehensive access control for new Samphire Ward

Hardware and software from SALTO Systems features in the new Samphire Ward at Chatterton House, a new acute care mental health facility in King’s Lynn, formed following the refurbishment of two redundant wards, linked to create one modern 16-bed facility operated by North and West Norfolk Care Group, part of Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

The Trust provides inpatient and community-based mental health services throughout Norfolk and Suffolk, and learning disability services, along with other specialist services, including medium and low secure services and wellbeing. The new facility is one of many sites across Norfolk and Suffolk to fall under the Trust’s management. Many use a legacy building access control system – a ‘bolt-on’ to a building management system, where all doors are required wired online.

Seeking a more ‘modern’, economical-to-fit, contactless access control solution which would eliminate having to wire all the doors, the Trust decided to specify  SALTO access control equipment for all new and refurbishment projects, with a view to retrofitting the new solution across all existing sites on a ‘rolling upgrade’ basis.

Security and Infrastructure manager for the Trust’s Strategic Estates Department, Paul Evans, said: “By choosing SALTO we were able to specify a mix of of online and offline equipment. The cost saving for offline equipment allows us to specify more internal offline doors to become controllable as part of the access control system, providing 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, it is vital for staff and service-user safety that we can control access simply and easily, yet securely, into and around the many different areas of the ward, the administration area, and the rest of the rooms in the building.  A standard, ‘off-the-shelf’ access control solution was not suitable; we needed reduced-ligature hardware working with contactless smart access control in the user areas, plus anti-barricade doors, vision panels, automatic lockdown abilities, locker locks, and a host of other special items. We needed a company with specialist experience in this field to undertake the supply and installation.”

Following a competitive tender, local security specialist and certificated SALTO partner, AC Leigh, won the contract to secure the new facility, and one of the company’s lead designers, Simon Clarkson, worked with Paul Evans and his team to design and deliver the system. He said: “We listened to what Paul and his team needed, and delivered a completely focused solution that allows central administration of the facility using SALTO Systems hardware and software as the core of the solution.”

On-line wall readers, installed on main entry points, alongside bedroom doors, and in ‘airlocks’ to control access from one area to another, are used to control access into and around the building.

Paul Evans said: “The use of the latest SALTO online CU4200 control units, where data can be shared to SALTO slave control units via a single master control unit, reduced the load on the already exhausted IT infrastructure, meaning 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. While the facility has the ‘bespoke ability’ to operate a standard 8 male, 8 female bedroom configuration, the Trust sought the flexibility to extend either male or female bedrooms to 10 – achieved by two swing corridor doors. In standard operation, these powered doors are held open with electromagnetic 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 comments “AC Leigh was able to configure the required solution easily, and trained the staff in its operation.”

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 ligature points were reduced, in line in 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 approval,” explained Paul 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.”

Staff areas feature XS4 Mini locks, while in open common areas, lockers incorporate smart XS4 locker locks. 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.

SALT explains that ‘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.’