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Surgical tools cause NHS chaos

25th April 2008

Leading surgeons say their operating schedules are being affected because of broken, missing or dirty surgical instruments.


The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) says operations are having to be cancelled as a result and claim problems have become worse since private firms took over the cleaning process for surgical instruments.

It now wants a national audit to examine how these services are working.

Richard Ramsden from the RCS said: “I think we feel an intense sense of frustration and anger ourselves at the moment when we have to cancel an operation or make do with instruments that are just not quite as good as they should be.

“But much more important is the frustration that patients feel. It’s a disservice to the patients.?

The British Orthopaedic Association echoed those concerns and said there is evidence of problems such as gynaecological instruments being packed by mistake into trays for orthopaedic operations.

“The view from the average orthopaedic surgeon is that moving the decontamination offsite is a recipe for chaos,? said spokesman Andrew Thomas.

The Department of Health in England has provided funding to encourage hospitals to enter into arrangements with commercial sterilisation services.

A spokesman said: “We have invested over £200m in improving decontamination services in the NHS in England since 2001 and we will continue to support trusts to provide the highest standards of decontamination of instruments as part of their drive against healthcare associated infection.?

The department is working closely with trusts and private sector provider to resolve any problems that arise with surgical instruments.


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Article Information

Title: Surgical tools cause NHS chaos
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 6527
Date Added: 25th Apr 2008


BBC News
The Independent

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