NHS Lothian instrument sterilisation service clean up in new award

Staff at NHS Lothian’s Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit have been awarded a prestigious prize for their work in keeping patients safe.

The team won the Best Independent Project of the Year category last night (Monday) in the inaugural Lean Healthcare Academy Awards, a UK wide event.

Dr Charles Swainson, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said:

“This unit is a really vital part of ensuring that surgery can be performed safely and quickly and the staff have done a fantastic job in driving improvements themselves. We know they’re doing well but it’s great to see their efforts being recognised by external experts in this way.”
The unit is a key support service in ensuring that life-saving surgery and other operations can go head.
The unit, based at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, sterilises 7m surgical instruments a year.
Separately, it has also become the first public sector team to win a key quality mark run by the Chartered Quality Institute.
Ideas suggested by staff there have produced dramatic benefits. Working through NHS Lothian’s modernisation programme Lean in Lothian, the 109-strong team made changes delivering considerable efficiency gains.
They were able to increase the numbers of trays of equipment being processed for safe reuse from 200 a day to 340 a day, a 35% increase. They also managed to cut the amount of time taken to process trays by 30%, saving over a day on the normal time taken for equipment to be returned to theatre areas for safe reuse.