St Richard’s Hospital is pioneering the latest new technology to battle against infection control.
The hospital is one of the first to purchase the new £30,000 invisible hydrogen peroxide vapour device, which is hoped will drive down rates of hospital-acquired infections even further.
Estates teams at St Richard’s Hospital are being trained in the use of the new system, the ‘Bioquell Q10’, which will be used to offer the highest standards of cleaning yet in rooms or bays where a patient with the bacterial infection Clostridium difficilie (C.diff) has been cared for.
The new device was funded by the Friends of Chichester Hospitals, who purchased the system as part of its standard range of options for controlling infections.
The device ensures no viruses or bacteria can be left on any surfaces, effectively eliminating the small risk of a new patient being admitted to an area and then becoming infected by traces of C.diff which might have survived from the more traditional ‘deep clean’ process.
Helen Richards, lead infection control nurse at the trust, said: “We have made great strides in making patients safer from the risk of infection, but we are always looking for ways to protect people further.
“We aim for zero tolerance of hospital-acquired infection at this trust and this device helps us to be able to say that we are doing everything we possibly can do.
“There can never be an absolute guarantee of total safety, but we are determined to do everything within our power to keep patients safe,” added Helen.
Before use, the room which needs to be cleaned is completely sealed off, and the Bioquell Q10 device fills the area with hydrogen peroxide vapour.
A second ‘aeration’ machine is then turned on, which turns the hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and vaporised water.
During the process nothing gets wet, and the room can be safe and ready for patients in as little as three hours.
Before the room is re-opened, trained staff carry out thorough tests to confirm that levels of hydrogen peroxide are entirely back to normal.
During the cleaning process the concentration of hydrogen peroxide will peak at more than 500 parts per million, before returning back to less than one part per million, the normal safe level.
The new device is expected to help Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands hospitals, to improve an already strong record of keeping patients safe from the risk of infection.
A second unit will also now be bought for use at Worthing Hospital.
Rates of C.diff at the trust have been reduced by more than half within two years, and there has not been a single new case of hospital-acquired MRSA bloodstream infection at any of the trust’s three hospitals since December 2010.
The device is highly recommended by the Department of Health, as proven bio-decontamination technology to assist with general cleanliness and outbreak control.