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June 08, 2005 12:00 PM

Europe's largest, most advanced centre for the sterilization of hospital surgical & medical instrumentation will be opening in Glasgow in the next few months.

Glasgow's hospitals use approx. 12 million re-usable instruments annually, ranging from single surgical instruments and complex theatre sets, to various items of medical equipment. All of this instrumentation has to be collected, decontaminated, tested, repackaged, sterilizedand returned to hospital staff quickly to ensure that thousands of patients can be treated each and every day.

The new centralised service will operate from a 40,000 sq. ft centre, based in Cowlairs Industrial Estate, Springburn, and will open in July 2005 with existing decontamination facilities in each acute hospital transferring on a phased basis over the following 17 months.

Boasting a wide range of unique decontamination and sterilization equipment designed specifically for the new unit, the facility is one of the most advanced and environmentally friendly of its type in Britain. The £9million project has already won national awards and the methodology developed has been shared with the NHS Scotland Property and Environment Forum with a view to benefiting other hospitals.

Jonathan Best, Chief Executive of Yorkhill and Project Lead for the Pan Glasgow Decontamination Centre said:"This a great success story for NHS Greater Glasgow, bringing together people from all backgrounds to create an unparalleled sterilization service for our hospitals.

"Our existing sterilization units have served us very well over the years, however the NHS has been given strict new standards for the decontamination of hospital instrumentation that none of our existing units can meet. The result is a centralised state-of-the-art unit with which Glasgow can lead the way for others to follow."

The unit itself is divided into three areas which represent different levels of cleanliness from the receiving area where used instruments begin their decontamination journey through a series of washers, disinfectors and sterilizers to the end of the process in a strictly controlled environment.

Mark Lavery, Head of Sterile Services said the layout and sophistication of the new unit will play an essential part in combating hospital acquired infection.

He said:"The equipment we have here enables us to track instrumentation through the decontamination process and record the patient history of specific instruments. This enables speedy identification of which instrumentation was used on individual patients in any of our hospitals.

"As you would expect, maintaining a clean, controlled environment is absolutely crucial to the operation of a unit like this. By having clearly divided sections within the facility, we are ensuring that equipment flows one way, eliminating cross infection between used and sterile instrumentation."

Whilst existing NHS sterile services staff will be transferring to the new centre, a range of new jobs will also be created from delivery drivers to trained Assistant Technical Officers.

Alex GrahamNHS Greater Glasgow Property and Planning Manager has never known a project of this size and complexity to be completed in such a short timescale.

He said:"I have worked in NHS Estates project management for over 30 years and this undertaking has basically re-written the rules of what can be achieved with the application, dedication and commitment of our own people.The unit has been designed on a stand-alone basis with it's own filtered water supply, a dual fuel boiler, clean steam raising plant and an emergency generator.All plant and equipment installed have been designed by the manufacturers to be as environmentally friendly and energy efficient as possible.

"In terms of the NHS in Glasgow, there has never been such a project which has harnessed the expertise of so many people from different disciplines, including staff from microbiology, supplies, HR, IT, transport, TSSU, Health & Safety, Quality control staff and many more.It's a real landmark not only for the NHS in Glasgow, but for NHS sterilization services across the United Kingdom."

NHS Greater Glasgow Chairman, Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, said:

"This fantastic NHS run facility is a tremendous achievement for Glasgow, ensuring we are at the forefront of the latest hygiene standards as well as providing the capacity we need to cope with the increasing number of patients who now receive their treatment as a daycase procedure. This new unit will play a crucial role in the £750 million hospital modernisation programme that is set to revolutionise health care in the city."



Notes for Editors

None of the six existing sterilization units currently serving Glasgow's hospitals are capable of being upgraded to meet the strict new quality and technical standards regulated by the Medical Devices Directive as monitored by the Medicines and Health care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The building phase of the new unit is due to be completed during April 2005, with commissioning taking place from April until July 2005 when service provision to Stobhill Hospital will occur. Subsequent transfers will take place until December 2006, by which time services will be provided to all the city's acute hospitals.

Stobhill will be the first to transfer its services in July 2005, followed by The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, the Victoria Infirmary, Gartnavel General, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and finally the Southern General. It is anticipated that the transfers will be completed by December 2006.

The British Research Establishment (B.R.E.) was involved in all aspects of the planning of the new unit to ensure it was environmentally sound.

The unit will provide sterilization services for Glasgow's 110 surgical theatres.

For further information contact Ryan Taylor on 0141 201 0833.


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Last Updated: 11 November 2021