The Sterile Services Team at Queen’s Hospital Burton are enjoying the benefits of being the first team in UK to have five newly installed, eco-friendly machines, called ‘KEN’, which are used to clean around 7,000 trays of surgical equipment every month.
The department, which processes almost 160,000 wash cycles every year, carefully selected the new machines based on a wide variety of benefits to both the team and the environment.
Production Manager Debbie McDonald said the new washer disinfector’s are better in a number of ways: “The old washer disinfector’s used 35 litres of water per wash cycle, and the new washer disinfector’s use 25 litres and also have a shorter cycle time of around 34 minutes compared to 45 minutes. The washer disinfector’s have been commissioned to use an eco-friendly detergent which is pH neutral and are more user-friendly than the old washer disinfectors.
“Instruments processed through the old washer disinfectors often used to be wet when they were received in the packing room, but the new machines ensure they’re always dry, which is brilliant and saves the team a lot of time. We have also installed an independent monitoring system which gives extra assurance that all parameters like washing and drying temperatures, pressure and the volume of detergent have all been met, and it’s all working very well.”
The role of the Sterile Services is crucial to the operation of the hospital, and so replacing the machines had to be planned out extremely carefully to ensure there was no disruption to the service provided to the hospital.
Wendy Kirk, Decontamination Lead, said: “Even though our old washer disinfectors were still working perfectly, we needed to have them replaced as parts weren’t available for them any more due to their age, and there was no independent monitoring system.
“As a department, we can’t have any downtime, so planning the replacement was like a military operation. Without our department running, there would be no operations, no endoscopies and a dramatic reduction is the service provided by sterile services, there is the potential for surgery to be affected or even cease so it had to be really well planned.”
The replacement process took around a month to complete, with four single-chambered machines and one triple-chambered machine as well as the machine which creates the reverse osmosis water used to wash the instruments all being replaced with newer, more efficient kit. One highlight has seen the department’s use of detergent fall by 50 per cent.
Wendy added: “Because the new machines are more compact, we’ve now got five single-chamber washer disinfectors which have increased the amount of instruments we can process.
“The new ‘Ken’ washer disinfectors are extremely good, they’re environmentally friendly and fall in line with the department and Trust’s environmental objective which when combined with the quality of the instruments that comes out of the washers has given us fantastic results.”