Gilberts Blackpool

Gilberts: Setting a new standard for healthcare ventilation

  • 29 Oct 2021

Research into the most effective, healthy way to ventilate in operating theatres has been published by leading independent air movement specialist Gilberts Blackpool.

It coincides with publication of new guidance – Health Technical Memorandum 03-01 – from the NHS on specialised ventilation for healthcare premises and the ramping up of Government plans to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. 

The findings follow in-depth testing by the company. The research validates the most effective way to ventilate within operating theatres is to use laminar flow directly above the operating table. 


The optimal design is to position the panels in a line, to discharge clean, filtered air directly down over the patient, washing down over the operating table for extraction by low level grilles.

This optimises removal of airborne contaminants from the patient, thus reducing the risk of infection: 10% of inpatients contract an infection whilst in hospital.

It also avoids the potential risk of contamination from air coming into contact with the theatre personnel, and transferring pollutants back onto the patients.

‘In-depth analysis’

Roy Jones, Gilberts’ Technical Director, comments: “The aims of the ventilation are prevention of airborne contaminants entering the theatre, dilution of airborne contaminants, and control of airflow.

“HTM 03-01 advises 22 air changes/hour at a velocity of 0.2-0.3m/3 at the operating table. It advises this is achieved via either a laminar flow strategy or radial convergence (diffusers in a rectangle around the table).

“We undertook in-depth analysis. We not only computer-modelled (via CFD) but undertook real-time tests in our purpose-built laboratory.

“The study confirmed that the best configuration to ensure adequate washing over and away to avoid contamination is via laminar flow panels. It was noted that there is risk of entrainment back into the incoming air using the air convergence strategy.”

Details of the Gilberts’ testing can be found here

Gilberts already has an renown range of laminar flow panels, PGL, already widely used in operating theatres, laboratories and similar stringently-controlled environments. 

The PGL Series of perforated laminar flow panels provides an equalised turbulence-free input of air into the treated zone. The 1200 x 600mm panels create a vertical air projection. In this way, a clean uncontaminated air zone can surround critical areas (i.e. operating tables and work tops).

The laminar flow panels are part of Gilberts’ solutions for everyday and specialised ventilation.

To read about how Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust has depended on Gilberts to support care for vulnerable patients, click here.


Gilberts of Blackpool,
Gilair Works,
Clifton Road,
FY4 40T

Phone: 01253 766911
Fax: 01253 767941

Visit Gilberts of Blackpool's website

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