Article Text

Health And Safety
Decontamination of surgical instruments: new times, new thinking
  1. Helen Casstles

    Helen Casstles is an environmental public health specialist at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University. She works with the Health Protection Agency and the public health community, and was involved with the DH decontamination review. She is a contributor to the national decontamination training programme.

  2. Duncan Roper

    Duncan Roper is the technical and operations director for Sterience UK, and has worked in NHS decontamination services for 25 years. He is currently involved in the decontamination programme to provide sustainable systems for the future.


A NATIONAL review of the processes used to decontaminate surgical instruments used in the NHS was conducted by the Department of Health in 2001. Helen Casstles and Duncan Roper describe the principles of decontamination now used in the human medical field and suggest how some of these might be applied to veterinary practice. The need for effective procedures, with robust monitoring and validation, is key, and will help any surgical facility ensure that it achieves high standards – and has the evidence to prove them.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.