Ensuring cost savings for your facility is often a top priority in the management of your care home, SEN school, hospital or hospice. As the facilities manager, procuring the necessary suppliers to ensure you are providing the best possible care for your service user whilst keeping your assets compliant is a key part of your work. Streamlining your services into one supplier can have many benefits such as efficiency of service and cost savings.

However, when it comes to the servicing of your patient handling equipment and the passenger lift equipment your facility has on site, it may be best to keep these two services contracted to two separate specialist suppliers.

In this blog, we will cover the important differentiations between patient lifting equipment and passenger lift equipment and how understanding this differentiation can help ensure your equipment remains fully compliant and you are minimising any risks for your service user.

Hoists and Passenger Lifts – Are They the Same?

It is true, both passenger lifts and patient handling equipment are subject to the same LOLER regulations as they both involve the lifting of people. However, it is important to understand that at base principle, patient handling equipment and passenger lift equipment belong to two very different industries.

Passenger lift equipment is in the industrial mechanical handling sector of lifting equipment and can include everything from lifts to cranes, to passenger escalators.

Whereas, patient handling equipment is in the healthcare sector of lifting equipment and can include everything from, mobile and ceiling hoists, to patient slings. Furthermore, the patient handling equipment sector specifically caters to the mobility needs of the service user individually.

Passenger in Lift
Service User in Sling

As a service and maintenance provider for patient handling equipment, we often hear facility managers stating that the LOLER and annual inspections for their assets are being carried out by their lift company.

LOLER Regulation 9 lays out the requirement that the person carrying out the LOLER inspection must be competent, have the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to perform the inspection, and requires you to appoint the appropriate specialist.

Further information about who can carry out a LOLER inspection can be found in this blog and throughout our News and Insights pages.


engineer servicing mobile hoist

Is Your Service Provider a Specialist in the Equipment They are Servicing?

When contracting a lift company to service your patient handling equipment, their field of expertise is specific to mechanical equipment such as lifts, escalators and cranes. As they are often not experts in the field of healthcare and the patient handling assets you have on site, this can mean the chances of misdiagnosis can be higher which can lead to an increased risk of non-compliance.

Condemning Equipment

When a lift company is looking after your patient lifting equipment, their lack of knowledge on patient handling assets can cause unnecessary asset condemnation. A passenger lift company can mistakenly condemn equipment when in fact, a simple repair is needed on the asset to keep it in compliance and in safe working order.

Lack of Knowledge on How to Conduct Repairs

Should a repair on your equipment arise, your lift company may lack the knowledge and resources necessary to conduct the repair. It is likely that they could in turn suggest you source another party who specialises in patient handling equipment to fix the problem at hand.

Should your lift company attempt to repair your patient handling assets, there is inherent risk that they will cause irreparable damage as they may lack the skills needed to service your healthcare equipment properly.

Condemned Equipment Service Report

Lack of Supply Chain

A lift company will have the access to the resources and parts needed to service and maintain your passenger lift equipment, however, you will often find that they lack the supply chain to obtain parts needed for your health care equipment. As a passenger lift company is not readily set up to receive needed parts for patient lift equipment, you and your service user can experience longer downtime on equipment.

Safety Risks for Service User

Safety and compliance of equipment is of utmost priority in the care industry. When appointing a passenger lift company to look after your patient handling equipment, you are entrusting a company that essentially lacks expertise on your assets. This in turn can expose your care facility and your service user to unnecessary risk. Poor service and maintenance on your patient handling equipment can not only lead to assets falling out of compliance, but so too could lead to injury and even death.

You can find out more about the risks of your equipment falling out of compliance here:

What are the Risks of Your Care Equipment Falling out of Compliance?

Does Using One Service Provider for Hoists and Passenger Lifts Save Costs?

Apparent upfront benefits you receive when using one company to service both your passenger lift equipment and your patient lifting equipment is an efficiency of service and an appealing upfront cost. However, when taking a clear look at the challenges that can arise from doing so, you will find that entrusting your service needs to a passenger lift company may not save you time and money in the long run.

Damaged Equipment

A passenger lift company can essentially only provide the visual inspection part of your LOLER servicing. Again, this is often due to the fact that they may lack experience in the niche market of healthcare equipment.

With a passenger lift company, they can leave your equipment unsafe for use or broken after servicing. In these instances, your facility is left spending more costs engaging the services of an expert or having to replace your equipment altogether.

Service User and Employee Dissent

With an increase of asset downtime that can come from your equipment looked after by a company that does not have the necessary expertise, both your service users and care staff can become frustrated and dissatisfied.

When your level of care is compromised this can have a knock-on effect with client costs and staff retention leading to high employee turnover and increased recruitment costs. Most of all is the unseen, hidden costs that can undermine the culture of an organisation.

Increased Supplier Management

When bundling the service of your passenger lift equipment and patient handling equipment you benefit from having one supplier looking after you. Unfortunately, should a problem arise, you will often find you will need to hire another service provider. When this happens, you can ultimately end up paying inflated rates for callouts from another provider and additionally lose a lot of time in the process.

Broken Mobile Hoist Handset


When making the choice of what provider to work with for the service and maintenance of your patient handling equipment, it is best to partner with a company that specialises in the field of healthcare.

Not only is patient handling equipment integral to the safety and wellbeing of your service user, but during its servicing, involves a lot of person-to-person interaction. Care for the service user and a knowledge of the impact broken equipment can have on them is extremely important. When you choose to engage a patient handling equipment specialist to handle your patient lifting equipment, this will give you the confidence that both your service user and the equipment they depend upon are being well cared for.

As service providers for patient handling and hoisting equipment, we hold thirty years’ worth of expertise with this specific equipment. We are often asked if we provide LOLER servicing to passenger lift equipment and the simple answer is no.

Our sector of speciality is in patient handling equipment not in passenger lifts. We will always do our best to continue to grow our knowledge within the healthcare industry and in turn pass those insights on to our customers.

Further knowledge about servicing and maintenance and the regulations that surround those services can be found throughout our ‘News and Insights’ blog pages on our website.

If you have any further questions on this subject or would like guidance and consultation for your care facility, get in touch with Medaco today, we are happy to help.