Clean and safe at Hartswood Hospital

July 2011

Spire Hartswood Hospital has made its third major capital investment in three years by installing a new Sterile Services Department (SSD). The SSD, which cost nearly one million pounds to build, enables the hospital to wash, disinfect and sterilise all of its operating theatre instruments on site to the latest regulatory standards. 

Mr Sunil Kumar, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Chair of the Clinical Governance Committee is impressed: “The Hartswood has always taken its healthcare standards seriously. This investment brings its facilities up to a standard that ensures, as far as possible, that patients are being treated in a clean and safe environment.”

“Having an SSD on site also allows the hospital to have a quicker turnaround time for theatre instruments. This is positive for surgeons and patients because the hospital can supply a faster, and more reliable service to meet patient demand, can do urgent operations at short notice, and does not risk cancellation of operations due to transport problems.”

The SSD is split into four separate areas: the wash room where all the instruments are washed after they are used in theatre; the clean room where washed and disinfected instruments are packed into sets for sterilising; the autoclaves where the sets are sterilised; and the stores where the sets are kept until needed by theatre.

The clean room has a high pressure environment which prevents any particles from the other areas getting into the room. It has its own air system which replenishes 20 times an hour to help ensure the air is as pure and clean as possible. Employees working in the clean room have to wear protective overalls and even have their own cleaning equipment which will not be used anywhere else in the hospital to avoid contamination.

Hospital Director, Mark Gilmour comments: “This work continues our huge programme of investment aimed at delivering the highest standards of care and service.”

Spire Hartswood Hospital publishes its Healthcare Standards here.

Facts about the SSD

  • The first stage of cleaning the instruments is the Wash Room.
  • Instruments are washed and dried on a 90 minute cycle.
  • The washers do not use ‘tap water’. They use Reverse Osmosis (RO) water which has been highly filtered and has additional technologies to prevent bacterial growth. This means that instruments and washers perform optimally and have a long service life and the chance of cross infection and endotoxin contamination is minimised. – Triple Red Ltd (Healthcare Division)
  • The softener and reverse osmosis (RO) system removes 98% of dissolved contaminants (for example Calcium ions which cause scaling in your kettle) from the mains water supply making the RO water 50 times purer than the water that comes out of the tap.  - Triple Red Ltd (Healthcare Division)
  • The second stage is the pressurised Clean Room. Instruments go in to the washer from the ‘washed’ side and are removed into the ‘clean’ side or the Clean Room, where they are wrapped into sets and passed through an airlock to the autoclaves.
  • The clean room has its own cleaning equipment and other equipment that once inside will not be used outside of the room. This avoids contamination.
  • The Autoclaves are the third stage and steam the instrument sets at 134°c for three minutes. Once this is complete the sterilised sets are ready to be used in the operating theatres.
  • Instruments are manually recorded as they are used. This means they are fully traceable allowing the hospital to identify which instrument was used on every patient that is operated on at Spire Hartswood.
  • The unit will be Accredited and Certified by SGS, in line with the Medical Devices Directive and BS EN ISO 13485 Quality Management System.

Martin Harrington, SSD Team Leader

“My role as SSD lead consists of offering an efficient and responsive service to our consultant surgeons. The smoother the theatres run, the better service we can give to them and their patients.

“I also ensure all the administration is carried out including tracking all the instruments and looking after the welfare of the staff that work in the department.”

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

Mark Gilmour, Hospital Director

“We are the only hospital in the local area that will have these facilities on site. Importantly it also means that we will be held fully accountable by the patients and consultants who use our theatres and we felt, as a responsible healthcare provider, that this is the way it should be.”

The Autoclaves

Jeff Dizon, Sterile Services Department Assistant, prepares a set of knee surgery instruments.

Mr Sunil Kumar, Consultant Orthopaedic surgeon and Chair of Clinical Governance Committee at Spire Hartswood Hospital

"Spire Hartswood Hospital has always taken its healthcare standards seriously.

"This investment brings its facilities up to a standard that ensures, as far as possible, that patients are being treated in a clean and safe environment.”

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)