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UHNM Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit scrub up well in annual review

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust’s (UHNM) Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit (HSDU) has been praised for achieving its highest ever result following an annual review.

The HSDU at both Royal Stoke and County hospitals were subject to a three-and-a-half-day inspection from the British Standards Institute in November with the result coming back the best in UHNM’s history.

Every part of the sterilisation and decontamination process was examined during the yearly review in November 2023.

HSDU plays a vital role at UHNM processing over 330,000 pieces of clinical equipment each year for areas across the Trust including theatres, maternity and the emergency departments.

Matthew Hammersley, Sterile Services Manager at UHNM, said: “As a department we have to be externally accredited for what we do and we are audited every year at both hospitals to make sure we are doing everything in conjunction with the required standard. We are delighted with the results of our latest audit which reflects the hard work which has been put in by the team behind the scenes.

“This result is all down to having the right people in the right post, making sure they have the correct level of training and competency and having a real focus on quality. We are also very proactive with preventive actions and hold routine internal audits rather than relying on these external audits to pick anything up.”

Kerry Gratton, Deputy Sterile Services Manager and Quality Manager, added: “I’d like to say a very big well done and thank you to every member of our team at both hospitals for all their hard work. They’ve done exceptionally well during very trying times recently for the NHS and still take everything on board.”

More than 150 people work on HSDU across Royal Stoke and County hospitals.

Helen Semeniuk now works as a team leader on HSDU and has worked at UHNM for more than 20 years having previously worked in the ceramics industry.

She said: “No two days are the same. I like being on my feet, doing things to help people, and just love my job. I’ve come a long way from folding linen to put surgical instruments in. The results of the audit are brilliant and I’m very proud of them. I knew we could do it, we’re a good team who work together and get the job done and try our best with every patient.”