Current Projects

At any one time, SMTL are working on a number of interesting projects. Some of the interesting projects we are currently working on include:

  • Silver catheter paper - a document looking at the evidence for and against silver urinary catheters;
  • Safer Sharps - a multi-stranded project where we have produced a number of documents looking at the types of devices available for different categories, organised user evaluations across the Welsh NHS, and submitted 3 papers to a nursing journal for publication. We are also participating in the H&SE review of evidence for these devices;
  • Non-Luer neuraxial connector project - a combination of performing testing for the Department of Health Patient Safety team, participation in the NPSA External Reference Group for the Safer spinal (intrathecal), epidural and regional devices alert. SMTL Director, Pete Phillips, also chairs the Welsh Neuraxial Connectors Reference Group for the Welsh Assembly Government.
  • Glove Testing - SMTL are currently working with Welsh Health Supplies on the next Examination Glove contract for the Welsh NHS, which will include testing glove samples for pinholes, strength, powder, and protein levels (important in preventing the development of latex allergy);
  • Dressings Testing - SMTL have recently completed a test programme which started in November 2009, testing a range of dressings for the upcoming Welsh woundcare products contract. Hundreds of products have been assessed, and the 60-70 test reports will be used to aid the Welsh NHS in selecting dressings which give excellent value for money.
  • Compression hosiery and stockings - SMTL have lead the field in stocking testing in the UK for over 15 years, and a significant test programme is planned for 2011 for the next Welsh contract. SMTL also chair the BSI technical committee CH/205/1, which covers dressings, gowns and drapes and compression hosiery, and which is currently working on a revision to the compression hosiery standards;
  • Nurses Uniforms - In conjunction with the University of Glamorgan, SMTL have recently completed the first stage of a study into contamination of nurses uniforms, which assessed and validated different methods for recovering micro-organisms from nurses uniforms. A paper has now been submitted, and discussions on the next stage of the project are underway;
  • WAG Governance E-manual - SMTL have recently written the medical device section of the WAG Governance E-manual, which is due to be launched soon;
  • Water project - SMTL are in the process of completing their 'Water Paper', which looks at the evidence for the various tests and associated limits in water used in Washer Disinfectors for reprocessing surgical instruments and flexible endoscopes. A successful meeting was recently held with experts from across the UK, facilitated by Dr Mike Simmons (Director of Health Protection, Public Health Wales), to discuss a pragmatic approach to setting limits for water quality;
  • Mediwales Road Map - SMTL have been working with Welsh Health Supplies and Mediwales on a draft Road Map, designed to help Welsh medical device companies understand what the Welsh NHS is looking for in terms of clinical trials, laboratory testing, and user evaluations before they can purchase new and innovative products;
  • Single-use screws and plates - SMTL have recently completed an assessment of the issues surrounding moving from re-usable screws and small implants to individually packed single-use devices, which will reduce reprocessing costs in Welsh hospitals and provide better traceability of these devices;
  • Dressing Standards - SMTL are presently working with the Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) and the UK Surgical Dressings Manufactures Association on the development of test methods designed to assess antimicrobial dressings, such as silver dressings. In addition, SMTL are also working with the SDMA to revise some of the European dressings standards to make them relevant to 21st century dressings;
  • Welsh HTMs - SMTL are working with Welsh Health Estates and the WAG on the revision/amendment of the Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) series of documents, to ensure that they are appropriate for the Welsh NHS;
  • Kings College, London - SMTL are part of an academic, NHS and industry partnership "Technologies for wound care", looking at new dressings and woundcare technologies, and how they can be developed and assessed.

Recently Completed projects

  • Single-use Tonsillectomy - building on their well publicised work with WHS and Mr Alun Tomkinson (ENT consultant, Cardiff & Vale UHB), SMTL completed their most recent laboratory assessments and company audits in 2009, leading to a renewal of the single-use tonsillectomy contract with BBraun instruments.
  • Face Masks - SMTL recently uncovered fradulent test reports from a Chinese supplier of surgical face masks. The UK supplier has been made aware and has now changed their supplier;
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