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New infection beating products are being tested and evaluated in seven ‘Showcase Hospitals’ across England in a project led by the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA).

Evidence of the effectiveness of each product is being collected along with the views of staff on how easy they are to use. NHS PASA will then work with the hospitals to make the successful products widely available across the NHS as quickly as possible.

This is one strand of the Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) Technology Innovation Programme, a joint project between the Department of Health and NHS PASA, which aims to speed up the development and introduction of new technologies to help combat infections, especially MRSA and C. difficile.

Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson today visited one of the Showcase hospitals, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. 

He said: “Hand hygiene, high standards of cleanliness, bare below the elbows, deep clean of hospitals and screening patients for MRSA are all vital elements of our strategy for tackling infection, so too is sensible use of antibiotics. But now we are stepping up a level and looking increasingly towards technology and design to play its part in the fight against infection which is why I am delighted to be launching the ‘Showcase Hospital’ scheme.”

Showcase Hospitals Programme Manager Paul Cryer said: “Infection control is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS today and new technologies and products have the potential to make a real difference in reducing levels of healthcare infections.  

“That’s why NHS PASA is grateful to staff at the Showcase Hospitals for helping us to find out what works best so we can make the new products widely available across the entire NHS for the benefit of all, knowing they are effective.”  

Each Showcase Hospital has a Project Nurse dedicated to the Programme and NHS practitioners from other trusts are actively encouraged to visit and find out first hand about the proven benefits of the new products.

The first review of new products is underway and includes evaluation of a vapour decontaminating system for use on equipment and clinical areas, a device to detect whether surfaces and equipment are sufficiently clean and a skin preparation product for disinfection of the skin prior to invasive procedures.

The seven Showcase Hospitals are:

The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust 

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London  

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust 

Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust

Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust

The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust.

  The first phase of products and technologies being reviewed are: 

Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour System - BIOQUELL. Highly effective for decontaminating enclosed rooms, wards and equipment. 

Clean-Trace Hygiene Monitoring System - 3M. Adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence testing system which can detect in seconds whether surfaces and equipment are sufficiently clean.

BARDEX I.C. - Bard. A silver alloy and hydrogen coated Foley catheter, designed to reduce bacterial colonisation that cause urinary tract infections.

ChloraPrep - Enturia Ltd. Sterile, single patient use applicator to disinfect the skin prior to invasive procedures. Contains 2% chlorhexidine gluconate in 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Flexi-Seal Faecal Management System - ConvaTec. A closed system designed to contain infectious diarrhoea, indicated for patients with acute faecal incontinence.

Zassi Bowel Management System – Hollister. Diverts and contains potentially infectious stool in a drainable or closed system and allows delivery of rectally administered medication.

The HCAI Technology Innovation Programme was launched in January 2008 in the Department of Health publication – Clean, Safe Care – Reducing Infection and Saving Lives. Further information at


Written by Richard Taylor
Monday, 17 November 2008 0:12

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