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IHEEM celebrates 75-year anniversary

Among the significant anniversaries being celebrated during 2018 - 25 years for HEFMA, 70 years for the NHS and the Hospital Caterers Association - we need to add 75 years for IHEEM.


The Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management is the UK’s largest specialist Institute for the healthcare estates sector. The Institute plays a major role in ensuring that healthcare estates are safe and fit for purpose and is at the forefront of informing and implementing government policy. Consequently, IHEEM has developed a reputation for being a well-established and highly respected source of engineering expertise and knowledge for the sector.


In recent years HEFMA and IHEEM have worked closely together as the two significant trade bodies in the sector, driving initiatives such as the Carter efficiency and productivity programme. In October 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to enable an even closer working partnership. 


Some history

The Institute was founded on August 28, 1943, at a meeting held at Nottingham City Hospital. Among the 40 or so attendees were Chief Engineers from hospitals in England and Wales, as well as representatives from the Institution of Engineers-in-Charge and the L.C.C. Engineer's Organisation. 


The early founders identified a need for national organisation to co-ordinate the exchange of information between the engineers themselves and others about the work engineers do in hospitals. At the first AGM in 1944 it was agreed that the primary aim of the new Institution was "to raise the standards of engineering in hospitals and of the engineer, and to introduce adequate standards of competency and qualification."


Expanding the knowledge of members has always been a key goal for IHEEM. A quarterly journal in the form of a newsletter was introduced in September 1945, which had developed into a monthly technical journal by 1953 and became Health Estate Journal - The Journal of the Institute of Hospital Engineering in January 1990. 


In 1962 the Institute introduced an annual series of courses in the development of management effectiveness, held at Keele University, in co-operation with the Engineering Division of the Department of Health and Social Security. In 1976 these were taken over by the Department and transferred to the National Hospital Engineering Training Centre at Falfield (now Eastwood Park). The Institute began staging its one-day seminars in 1973, focusing on topical subjects. 


Over the years it has contributed views to many committees and initiatives, including the 1961 Tyler Committee, set up by the Minister of Health to advise on the work, grading, training and qualifications of hospital engineers.


In 1978 a bursary was introduced to help young people in hospital engineering in the UK to study both in the UK and abroad and to broaden their knowledge. The following year the Institute staged its first International Seminar for senior hospital engineers.


IHEEM's annual Healthcare Estates conference is now well established. This started out as an annual three-day event held at varying venues, including London Olympia, the Guildhall in Portsmouth, City Hall Sheffield, the University of Aston and the Royal Hotel in Bristol. In modern times, the event has settled in Manchester.


IHEEM is keen that its 75-year anniversary celebrations are as inclusive as possible. Accordingly, HEFMA has been invited to an anniversary Drinks Reception on Friday, August 17 at the head office city of Portsmouth, which will be hosted on board HMS Warrior 1860 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The Reception will celebrate the heritage and innovation of the Institute as IHEEM sets the scene for its next 75 years.