Corporate Information


The Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit (HSDU) is a purpose built unit in the Countess of Chester Hospital. HSDU is maintained to and complies with HNB 13 for work areas for the flow of dirty and clean equipment. The department consists of three areas the wash area, packing area and autoclave area. We maintain three turbo washers, one multi-chamber washer and four steam sterilizers. The experienced team provide an efficient and flexible service of medical device decontamination and sterilisation, ensuring that on a day to day basis, the service meets its operational targets up to the required patient experience levels.

All staff have completed the National Decontamination Programme and completed our comprehensive In House Training Programme and we currently have a  manager and a deputy manager, we have two team leaders for the shifts (day 7am-3pm) and a (2pm-10pm) with two experienced technicians alongside assistants and trainees. Our Technicians and junior staff have an unrivalled knowledge of thousands of instruments used across all specialities of surgery.

The HSDU unit provides its service to all theatres in the hospital including the Jubilee theatres. Not only this, the unit cleans equipment for a huge range from all over the hospital including Maternity, internal outpatient wards, Oral Maxilla Facial Unit and many more. The unit also processes medical devices for external customers across Chester and Ellesmere Port.

The unit provides clean, decontaminated, packed sterilised medical and surgical equipment, disposable products and other additional items.  HSDU technicians are responsible for the decontamination of items used in the hospital and in 2018 the team decontaminated 67,000 sets and an additional 79,000 supplementary items.

The role of reprocessing re-useable medical devices is technically advanced and includes dismantling, cleaning and decontaminating devices; identifying, inspecting and testing the functionality of surgical instrumentation; re-assembling and packaging sets of instruments and finally sterilising items in our porous load sterilizer.

This vital service is known as the “Decontamination Cycle” and plays a major part in hospital infection prevention and control. Want to find out more about this process at the Countess? Click here. The quality of all re-usable devices processed within both departments is managed and controlled by both International and European Standards. Each stage of the reprocessing life cycle is monitored and audited with any resulting actions taken. The HSDU is fully compliant with and audited against the following quality standards: HSDU is accredited to ISO 13485:2016 and complies with Directive 93/42/EEC, additionally compliant to HTM 01-01. The department is audited yearly to ensure it is working to every standard that is required.

The departments AE(D) (Authorising Engineer for Decontamination) a fully  independent engineer who is an appropriately experienced and qualified individual appointed to take responsibility for the effective management of the safety guidance recommended by the department of health. The AE(D) audits reports on validation, revalidation and yearly tests. In house test persons perform weekly ACT (Automatic Control Test) on the washer disinfectors. External Engineer/Competent Persons will conduct periodic testing of washer-disinfectors and sterilizers. The department has an independent monitoring in place for the washer disinfectors and steam sterilizers using T-Doc and Yokogawa monitoring systems. The independent monitors are checked to ensure all the correct times and temperatures have been reached and allow for product release.

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