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NHS: Cleaning Services

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to bring contracted-out NHS sterilisation services back in-house; and if he will make a statement. (202757)

Hospital trusts and all other healthcare providers are responsible for making their own decisions on decontaminating their instruments, based on local needs. Decontamination can be carried out from either onsite or offsite facilities

All organisations undertaking the decontamination reprocessing of surgical instruments—whether managed by the national health service or by the independent sector—must comply with the standards contained within the Medical Devices Directive (93/42/EEC), copies of which are available in the Library. Trusts are responsible for specifying the services required, in line with the Health Act 2006 Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Health Care Associated Infections. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is responsible for monitoring compliance with the standard for contracted-out national health service sterilisation services.

The Government have invested over £200 million in improving decontamination services in the NHS in England. We will continue to help hospital trusts to provide the highest standards of decontamination of instruments as part of their drive against healthcare- associated infection and to protect patient safety.