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Medical Equipment: Irradiation

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what consideration his Department has given to the use of ultra-violet germicidal irradiation disinfection devices in the healthcare sector; (202442)

(2) whether his Department has investigated the use of ultra-violet germicidal irradiation technology in combating tuberculosis infection;

(3) what plans his Department has to commission research into the effects and merits of ultra-violet germicidal irradiation technology; what assessment has been made of (a) the costs and (b) the merits of introducing such technology; and if he will make a statement.

The Rapid Review Panel (RRP) has reviewed 28 technologies which utilise ultra-violet light. All of these technologies are air purification systems. From these 28 products:

two were awarded a recommendation 2 (basic research and development has been completed and the product may have potential value; in use evaluations/trials are now needed in an national health service clinical setting);

10 received a recommendation 3 (a potentially useful new concept but insufficiently validated; more research and development is required before it is ready for evaluation in practice);

seven received a recommendation 4 (not a significant improvement on equipment/materials/products already available which claim to contribute to reducing health care associated infection; no further consideration needed, or unlikely to contribute to the reduction of health care associated infection; no further consideration needed);

eight received a recommendation 5(insufficient clarity/evidence presented to enable full review of the product); and

one received a recommendation 6 (an already well established product that does not merit further consideration by the panel).

Further information can be found on the RRP's website at:

www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics__az/rapid_review/default.htm

Unless a technology is awarded a recommendation 1 from the RRP and considered to be clinically effective, the Department does not undertake assessments of cost effectiveness or, of the benefits involved in introducing such technology.

Research has shown that ultra-violet disinfection can be valuable in certain circumstances to reduce airborne bacteria.