Buying furniture for a GP practice can be a more complex task than many people initially realise. You’ve got to buy furniture that is of sufficient quality, that has the characteristics to withstand the unique challenges posed by a GP surgery environment, and you’ve got to buy furniture that won’t break your budget. So, if you want to spend your budget wisely, read this guide to buying GP surgery furniture from the Rosehill team.
What is GP surgery furniture?
Let’s begin by defining exactly what we mean by GP surgery furniture.
Why? Because it’s very different from the standard furniture which you’ll find around the home.
GP surgery furniture is classed as contract furniture, meaning that it’s designed and manufactured to withstand very heavy use in ‘high traffic’ environments.
There are a whole host of different manufacturing and safety standards which contract furniture must meet. These standards are generally far in excess of the standards which apply to domestic furniture.
So, if you’re going to be buying furniture for your GP surgery, it’s important that you source it from a reputable supplier of contract furniture – such as ourselves here at Rosehill.
GP surgery furniture standards
Aside from ensuring that the furniture you buy for your GP surgery is of ‘contract’ standard, it’s important to note that your furniture must also satisfy a number of requirements set out by the CQC (Care Quality Commission).
Under Regulation 15 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, healthcare premises – such as GP surgeries – are required to be:
- Suitable for the purpose for which they are being used.
- Properly used.
- Properly maintained.
- Appropriately located for the purpose for which they are being used.
Within this guidance GP surgery furniture must be easily cleaned and of high enough quality to withstand repeated use by a wide range of different people.
As the CQC requests that healthcare premises should operate a rigorous cleaning schedule, it’s important that you buy furniture which is able to withstand regular cleaning on an ongoing basis.
The CQC’s guidance on ensuring accessibility to your surgery by a wide range of people, means that you will also need to take into account larger patients by providing bariatric seating.
In addition to the guidance set out by the CQC, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs – which will be subsumed into integrated care systems over the course of 2022), set out some basic guidelines for GP surgery furniture:
- In your waiting room, you should have 5 seats for every bookable treatment space.
- Seats of various heights should be provided in addition to standard seating.
- All waiting room seating should be impermeable and washable.
- Furniture should be non-porous and stain resistant.
- Furniture should be manufactured in a way that frequent and thorough cleaning of it is possible.
How to buy the right furniture for your GP surgery
So, with all of the above points in mind, what characteristics and properties should you be looking for in your GP surgery furniture?
To help you buy the right furniture for your surgery, the Rosehill team has outlined the characteristics and properties to look for below.
If you’re going to be spending your precious facilities budget on new furniture, you want to ensure that it’s going to be durable and long lasting.
When buying waiting room furniture, you want to select good quality wood or metal framed chairs which feature a robust construction. Models such as our Hamilton Patient & Visitor Chairs feature a solid hardwood frame construction which has a 10-year warranty.
So, when you’re looking for new furniture for your GP surgery, be sure to ask any potential suppliers about the warranties they offer on their furniture.
Where possible, you should also try and get furniture which uses scratch and abrasion resistant materials such as vinyl, so that your furniture maintains its appearance for longer.
Many GP surgeries prefer their seating to be arranged in ‘beams’ rather than as individual free standing chairs.
Not only does this ensure that your seating remains in neat lines, but it also prevents individual chairs from being lifted up or moved around by members of the public – keeping your reception and waiting area arranged how you left it.
At Rosehill our most popular beam seating is the Mia, which is available in two, three and four position beam configurations.
Compliance with fire regulations
It’s vital that any furniture you buy for your GP surgery complies with applicable fire safety standards.
This means that any furniture such as upholstered seating that you buy is compliant with BS 7176: 2007. This standard sets out the ignition resistance of upholstered furniture for non-domestic seating.
Should you be particularly concerned about demonstrating that your furniture is compliant at a later date (for example, if your GP surgery is going to be inspected by the CQC), it’s usually possible to obtain a copy of the testing certificate related to your furniture from the supplier.
Guide – read our complete guide to the fire regulations that apply to contract furniture for more information.
Comfort and support
Whilst comfort isn’t necessarily a regulatory requirement, it’s understandable that you’ll want your furniture to be comfortable.
After all, the people who will be using your reception chairs are likely to be unwell, elderely and/or nervous. So, it’s a good idea to ensure that any furniture that you buy is sufficiently comfortable.
When researching furniture for your GP surgery we’d recommend looking for seating which is ergonomically designed.
Ergonomically designed furniture will generally have a sculpted seat and backrest which is designed to make it more comfortable for the user by providing proper lumbar support. For many visitors to GP surgeries, high-back chairs are a particularly useful addition.
It can also be handy to include chairs with armrests in your surgery – as this is helpful for people who require support for their arms, elbows and wrists.
Ease of cleaning
As you’ll know, infection control and hygiene is a big priority in GP surgeries – especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, you’ll want to ensure that any furniture you buy for your GP surgery can not only be cleaned easily, but will withstand rigorous rounds of repeated cleaning.
Look for chairs such as our Hamilton Patient & Visitors chairs which feature cleaning-focused design elements such as:
- A ‘hygiene gap’ – this refers to a gap between the backrest and the seat of the chair which prevents the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.
- Removable seats – this makes it far easier to properly clean the chair in-line with infection control protocols.
- Minimised stitching in non-contact areas – with minimised stitching a chair is much less likely to accumulate dirt or other detritus. It’s also easier to clean.
You’ll also want to ensure that any chairs that you buy for your GP surgery are not just designed with a focus on hygiene, but are also upholstered in hygienic materials.
As such, we would recommend that you select chairs which are upholstered in an anti-microbial and stain resistant vinyl. Materials such as vinyl will not only resist bacteria, but they are also super-easy to clean, can be quickly wiped down and are water resistant.
The best vinyls to look for are healthcare-specific vinyls, such as our Cadet Vinyl. This is because they are designed especially for the healthcare market with a focus on providing protection against the spread of bacteria and infection.
The Cadet Vinyl is also one of the few vinyls that can be bought featuring patterns – so, if you want to add an additional aesthetic touch to your surgery, the Cadet Vinyl is perfect (if you’d like to see the available patterns, please contact us and we can send you samples).
Our Cadet Vinyl is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi including Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus mycoides, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella choleraesuis, Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA and C-Diff spore.
Note – you should ensure that the vinyl that’s used on your GP surgery chairs is tested to AATCC147 – a qualitative antimicrobial test which is used to detect bacteriostatic activity on fabrics and textiles.
In order to accommodate larger patients, you should include a certain number of bariatric chairs within your GP furniture.
Bariatric furniture refers to furniture which is designed for wider and/or heavier users from 30 stone (approx 190.5kg) or more. This ensures that the furniture provides maximum comfort to the user whilst also being structurally stable and safe when subjected to large weights.
At Rosehill we stock a variety of bariatric chairs which are suitable for use in GP surgeries. Chairs such as our Cyrus Bariatric Easy Chairs & Armchairs feature a substantial steel square frame which means they can support weights of up to 50 stone (approx 317kg).
It can be handy to specify bariatric chairs such as our Dalton Bariatric armchairs which feature drop arms. This means that the armrests can be lowered vertically so that patients can more easily be transferred from either side of the chair.
Office furniture for GP surgeries
So far in this article, we’ve focused predominantly on furniture that’s compliant and suitable for waiting rooms.
But, don’t forget that you might want to upgrade the furniture in other parts of your surgery too.
From office chairs and desks for your GPs, admin and reception staff to lockers, armchairs and lounge chairs for your staff room or dining area, it’s important not to overlook the non-patient facing areas of your surgery.
After all, tatty old furniture won’t be good for staff morale!
CQC compliant furniture for your GP surgery
Hopefully you now have a clearer idea of what characteristics and properties you should be looking for when buying new furniture for your GP surgery.
So, if you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your GP surgery’s furniture along the lines listed above, what are your options?
Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular seats for GP surgeries which are compliant with the requirements set out by the CQC.
Note – when browsing our products, you can find the different sizes, configurations and specifications for each product in the ‘Technical Specification’ section:
Hamilton Patient & Visitor Chairs
Combining comfort, durability, ease of cleaning (and stackability on certain models), the UK-manufactured Hamilton Patient & Visitor Chair is the perfect chair for GP waiting rooms and is one of our most popular models (it’s also very popular in hospitals).
It has an ergonomically-designed backrest and a profiled seat to provide maximum comfort, whilst it is designed with a hygiene gap, removable seat and minimised stitching detail to assist with infection control and cleaning.
The Hamilton’s wooden frame is also distinct from other wooden-framed chairs on the market in that the surface of the wood has an anti-bacterial treatment (whereas other chairs generally don’t).
The Hamilton is also available in a variety of configurations and can be customised to exactly meet the needs of your GP surgery and your patients.
Configurations of the Hamilton include:
- Hamilton Upright Stacking Chair.
- Hamilton Upright Stacking Armchair.
- Hamilton Chair.
- Hamilton Armchair.
- Hamilton Mid-Back Armchair.
- Hamilton High-Back Armchair.
The Hamilton is also available in a variety of seat heights (to help you meet the requirements that you have seats at varying heights in your surgery). Available seat heights are standard, 430mm, 490mm and 530mm.
A large number of different wooden frame options, upholstery options, and other options are also available on the Hamilton.
Rosehill Bariatric Heavy Duty Chair
In order to welcome your larger patients, it’s important that you obtain bariatric chairs for your GP surgery; and, the Rosehill Bariatric chair is the perfect option.
Featuring a robust metal frame, the Rosehill Bariatric chair is suitable for persons up to 31 stone (200kg) in weight.
Thanks to its metal frame and vinyl upholstery (although treated fabric is also available), the Rosehill Bariatric chair is also very easy to keep clean and will withstand repeated cleaning.
We can offer the Rosehill Bariatric chair in a huge range of different finishes and colours, so it’s easy to select a chair that will provide continuity with the rest of your GP surgery’s decor.
The Rosehill Bariatric chair is now also available as an armchair option, with the ability to link the chair to others also available upon request.
Mia Beam Seating
An exceptionally popular option for waiting areas in GP surgeries, the Mia from Rosehill uses a versatile beam system, allowing each piece to accommodate two, three or four seats. Simply pick the option that fits your waiting room best!
The Mia is highly configurable and is available with a breathable plastic back, or padded seats and backs. Both the polypropylene and fabrics are available in a large range of colours.
If you wish, you can also add a set of arms to each end, whilst the frame of the Mia can be finished in either black, silver or chrome.
The Mia is also designed to be easily cleaned and maintained, making infection control easy.
Cyrus Easy Chairs & Armchairs (Heavy Duty)
Should you wish to include more ‘laid back’ style bariatric chairs within your GP surgery, then consider something like the Cyrus easy chair.
Whilst this is a heavy-duty bariatric chair which can handle weights up to 50 stone, it doesn’t ‘obviously’ resemble a bariatric chair and is therefore suitable for general use within your surgery.
The Cyrus is also deeply upholstered with a contoured, high-density foam seat which makes this a very comfortable, relaxing seat.
It’s also available in a number of configurations including:
- Standard chair.
- Two-seater with arms.
You can also choose to have the Cyrus’ frame painted in a variety of pastel or bright colours.
Cyrus Coffee Tables
It can be handy to have a few coffee tables dotted around your GP surgery for displaying leaflets or holding magazines.
The Cyrus coffee table is designed to complement the Cyrus easy chair (above) and features a sturdy, oversized rectangular steel tubular frame and a white or beech laminate top which is easy to clean.
The Cyrus is available in either a square or rectangular format.
Renew your GP surgery furniture today with Rosehill
We hope you’ve found our guide to GP surgery furniture both practical and helpful. If it’s prompted you to consider some new furniture for your own GP surgery, then please explore the wide range of pieces available now at Rosehill.
Brochure – browse our 2021 contract furniture brochure here.
Since 1982 we’ve been supplying GP surgeries across the UK with high-quality waiting room and reception furniture.
If, whilst browsing our website, you have any questions about our furniture please feel free to call our customer service team who will be happy to help! (Just mention how you found our website).
You can contact our customer service team on 0161 485 1717 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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