Guidance for purchasing Reusable Surgical Instruments in the NHS in Wales

Version: 1.0 - 9th Dec 2013

A PDF version of this document can be downloaded.

About this guidance

The document aims to provide appropriate information for the process of purchasing reusable surgical instruments for the NHS in Wales.

The aim of the document is to ensure that:

Before an order is placed

The selection and procurement of surgical instruments should involve a range of disciplines as follows:

  1. HSDU/CSSD “ who need to ensure that their reprocessing systems are appropriate for the device under consideration. This step is vital in ensuring that money is not wasted procuring devices which cannot be reprocessed locally.;

  2. Infection control - the infection control team and HSDU/CSSD should be consulted in circumstances where the instructions provided by the manufacturer do not conform to recognised standards applicable in the UK or where the recommended agents or processes are not available or permissible within the UK.

  3. End user “ usually a surgeon for surgical instruments “ to ensure that the devices are fit for their clinical purpose, and that appropriate training and support is available;

  4. Procurement staff (including clinical procurement staff) “ to ensure the organization is achieving value for money and are complying with relevant legal requirements, including the procurement regulations and medical device directives;

  5. All parties “ agree how many devices are necessary to cover turnaround time and service requirements (e.g., for example number of procedures using these devices each day)

Specific CSSD/HSDU advice

To ensure that the device can be reprocessed safely and effectively using the facility™s existing equipment (washer disinfectors and sterilisers), appropriate resources and conditions (equipment, detergent dosing regimes, water quality, pH, steriliser cycles), should be available in the department:

Specific Procurement advice


There are a number of standards appropriate to stainless steel surgical instruments. A summary paper has been produced by Dr Gavin Hughes at SMTL, and is available from:

The specific standards are:

Other standards which may be relevant to medical devices include:


The decontamination guidance for Wales for these instruments, roles and responsibilities, plus instrument management is given in WHTM 01.01, parts A and B, which can be found at:


1 - Roebuck EM, Strang R, Green I, Smith A, Walker J. The availability and content of dental instrument manufacturers' decontamination information. Br Dent J. 2008 Apr 26;204(8).

2 - Brophy T, Srodon PD, Briggs C, Barry P, Steatham J, Birch MJ.  Quality of Surgical Instruments. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2006 Jul;88(4):390-3.


 This document was prepared by Welsh NHS members of the Welsh Decontamination Group and the Surgical Instrument sub-group.