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Sterile Services

The sterile services department at Royal Stoke University Hospital cleans, decontaminates and sterilises all surgical instrumentation and equipment used in the hospital's 24 theatres, wards and departments. It is a service that is never seen by patients. ​but without it operations would cease within 48 hours. In addition, the department provides an equipment cleaning, decontamination and collection service for four peripheral hospitals, 70 GP surgeries and 26 health centres. The state-of-the-art department was the first to move into the new hospital building. It uses the latest technology to process surgical instruments and ensure compliance with the relevant standards.

Our service provides:

  •  Steam sterilisation at temperatures ranging between 121 degrees Celsius and 134 degrees Celsius 
  •  Gas plasma low temperature sterilisation for heat sensitive items, for example some flexible endoscopes
  •  A fully equipped endoscope unit which processes flexible endoscopes for theatres and departments

The process of decontamination consists of three main stages:

The process that removes contaminants including dust, soil, large numbers of micro-organisms and organic matter (for example blood, and vomit). It is an essential prerequisite to disinfection and sterilisation. It also removes the organic matter on which micro-organisms might thrive and multiply.

The process used to reduce the number of micro-organisms. This does not necessarily kill or remove all micro-organisms, but reduces their number to a level which is not harmful to the health of the patient. We have nine washer/disinfectors and two ultrasonic machines to manage this process. 

The process that moves or destroys all forms of microbial life including bacterial spores and ensures the instrumentation is safe to be used internally on the patient. We have five sterilisers and two gas plasma machines to manage this process. Our equipment has to meet the Choice Framework Policies for the Department of Health, which involves full monitoring and maintenance support on a daily basis.

To further support faith in the excellent service provided by the department and to ensure that all operational activities function to the same level of efficiency, the department has developed and implemented a Quality Management System which meets the requirements of:


BS EN ISO 9001:2008

BS EN ISO 13485:2003

Medical Devices Directive - MDD/93/42/EEC using Article 12 as the route to compliance. Our quality system is verified by a recognised notified body: the British Standards Institute. They audit the department on a six-monthly timescale to ensure continuous improvement for processes and procedures. This ensures that any medical device (surgical instruments in this instance) used in a surgical procedure are fit for purpose and sterilised to the highest standards for the benefit of the patient. 

We have 117 staff who work 24 hours a day to enable us to process over 264,000 pieces of equipment every year. Their tasks range from reprocessing of equipment to complete management of customer services, which includes repair, replacement and maintenance programmes.

Rose Rushton /Cynthia Adamson - Day shift

Claire Cartlidge / Julie Copeland - Twilight / Night shift

The production co-ordinators - alongside the Team Leaders - provide support to the deputy manager by overseeing the production of instrumentation and equipment through the unit. They oversee working methods, staff and production of all equipment in line with department procedures and standards

The Deputy Sterile Services Manager is responsible for leading the operational management of the department. This means ensuring compliance is met, managed and maintained within the defined standards. Jayne has worked in Sterile Services for 22 years and over this time has progressed through the department from Office Manager to leading the department as Deputy Quality Manager.

The Sterile Services Manager is responsible for the strategic direction and operational management of this key service, ensuring a high level of leadership in the on-going service delivered to the Trust, within defined audit and statutory regulations. Debbie has worked within sterile services departments for 28 years and has been a qualified member of the Institute of Decontamination Sciences since 1995.

  • Reception 01782 672910
  • Sterile Services Manager 01782 672911
  • Deputy Sterile Services Manager 01782 672912