State-of-the-art decontamination unit opens

Sally Smith

Caption: Sally Smith, matron for endoscopy, with one of the state-of-the-art machines housed in the new Endoscope Decontamination Unit.

18 January 2018

A new state-of-the-art decontamination unit has opened at Colchester Hospital to further improve patient safety by ensuring medical equipment continues to be disinfected to the highest standards.

The £1.2m Endoscope Decontamination Unit (EDU) has been built behind the Elmstead Day Unit. It houses five state-of-the-art machines, which wash and disinfect the delicate scopes which are used by staff at the unit to carry out around 9,000 endoscopies every year.

The hospital’s facilities for cleaning endoscopes were previously spread between the Elmstead Day Unit and the main theatres. The EDU has been built to centralise the service.

The new machines are both quicker and more efficient than the models they have replaced, which had come to the end of their useful life after being in use for more than a decade.

The unit also includes full electronic tracking and traceability so that staff can see exactly which piece of equipment has been used for each procedure.

The EDU is also ensuring the hospital continues to meet best practice guidelines by providing separate areas to keep equipment before and after decontamination to reduce the chances of any cross contamination.

Sally Smith, matron for endoscopy, said: “We are delighted with this new decontamination unit, which will help us continue to meet growing demand for endoscopies while ensuring we maintain the highest standards of patient safety.

“Endoscopies are vitally important, and are used to diagnose a huge variety of different conditions, including cancer and digestive problems. It is essential that the equipment is cleaned and disinfected to the highest possible standards.”