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COVER STORY: 40 years of ensuring patient safety

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2024 is a key moment in history for Wassenburg Medical. The company will be celebrating its 40-year anniversary in business. Having designed the world’s first automated endoscope reprocessor, the company continues to drive innovation.

Forty years ago, Wassenburg’s founder, Gerrit Wassenburg, designed the world’s first AER, following several incidents and debates revolving around the challenges of washing and disinfecting endoscopes. Gerrit Wassenburg recognised the need for a new endoscope washer-disinfector and developed a revolutionary and patented concept – in which endoscope channels are individually connected, washed, disinfected, controlled, and monitored during reprocessing. This is still the foundation for state-of-the-art endoscope washer-disinfectors today

Since then, the technology and processes have advanced beyond expectations. This pace and continuous drive are ever present throughout Wassenburg Medical, and the company endeavours to go to new levels to achieve a safe endoscope for every patient.

From its early conception, the Wassenburg AERs provided a new approach in endoscope reprocessing. The patented concept allowed endoscopes to be reprocessed independently in two asynchronous chambers, with the patient insertion tube being fed into a helical coil and a vortex being created during the washing cycle. This process ensures that the endoscope is completely reprocessed through the washing and disinfection. The company innovated the way in which endoscopes are reprocessed and its endoscope washer disinfectors contain a  unique basin and helical tube system. The helical tube system is designed to allow the distal end to be completely reprocessed, allowing fluid to contact it everywhere. Each endoscope channel is reprocessed and controlled individually on connection, flow, pressure, and blockage.

It wasn’t until the early 2000s that the Wassenburg products entered the UK. Until this point, the UK was heavily reliant on the manual reprocessing of endoscopes. Following several key incidents across the UK, due to users not knowing how to reprocess endoscopes correctly, the Wassenburg WD440 top loader was rolled out across UK facilities, offering healthcare establishments the opportunity to reprocess endoscopes in an automated system. 

Wassenburg has continued to lead in innovation and, in the mid 2000s, developed the Wassenburg WD440 Pass Through endoscope washer disinfector (WD440 PT). This concept allows the dirty flexible endoscopes to be loaded on one side and processed, while the clean disinfected flexible endoscopes are unloaded on the other side of the unit.

Since being established in the UK, the company’s range of endoscope washer disinfectors and endoscope drying cabinets are now used daily throughout NHS hospitals and several key private hospitals. The effect of the pandemic has seen the UK government creating Community Diagnostic Centres and Wassenburg AERs have been installed in several CDC units. Now, in partnership with a key supplier of mobile units, Wassenburg can also deliver a mobile endoscope decontamination unit, which can serve as an interim option for both the NHS and private sector hospitals.

Throughout its history, Wassenburg has maintained its passion for innovation and continued to develop its range of AERs to meet an ever-changing landscape in the field of cancer and diagnostics. A key constant design consideration is both the use of water and the quantity of water used through the washing and disinfection stages. Wassenburg constantly reviews its AER design and is ensuring that water demand, as part of the washing and disinfection cycle, is minimal. Water remains one of our most precious natural resources and Wassenburg is committed to ensuring sustainability. This forms part of the company’s overall core values and vision, which are focused on ensuring a safe, clean and liveable planet, both now and in the future.

Ultimately, ethical values and innovation are core to the company’s DNA and, today, Ronald Wassenburg leads on Research & Development, with a vision to advance healthcare, enhance efficiencies and, more importantly, deliver a safe endoscope for every patient. This commitment has seen Wassenburg lead the way as one of the very first manufacturers of Endoscope washer-disinfectors to be certified under MDR (2017/745). This certification, by the British Standards Institution (BSI), will ensure continuous market access for Wassenburg’s innovative range of equipment, throughout Europe. Coupled with support for decontamination professionals, in the form of access to education, the company aims to drive continuous improvement and high standards of patient safety in the sector

Wassenburg Ltd.
1 Smithy Wood Drive
Smithy Wood Business Park
Sheffield, South Yorkshire S351QN
UNITED KINGDOM
T: +44 (0)114 245 4282
F: +44 (0)114 232 8234
sales@wassenburgmedical.co.uk
www.wassenburgmedical.co.uk

Supporting excellence through study days 

As part of its commitment to supporting the decontamination sector in delivering high standards of patient safety, Wassenburg is hosting an educational study day. The event, which takes place at Aston Hall Hotel, in Sheffield, on 18 April 2024, will bring together leading experts to discuss hot topics, key challenges and best practice.

Among the high-profile names speaking at the event is Helen Campbell, the Director of Education at the Institute of Decontamination Sciences. Helen is committed to driving high standards of education and training in the sector, and aims to champion greater recognition and visibility for the important work that is carried out by decontamination scientists, across the UK. Helen will be discussing the question: ‘Do we need qualifications?’ There will also be a presentation by IDSc’s National Chair, Trevor Garcia, who will consider another key question: ‘Who is responsible?’ In the wake of an investigation by the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) into failures in  decontamination, Trevor’s presentation will provide delegates with a thought-provoking insight into key responsibilities.

Andy Coley will argue that ‘Leadership is a skill, not a position’. An NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Trainer and award-winning TEDx speaker, Andy’s expertise lies in transforming traditional views of leadership into a dynamic skill set that emphasises empathy, communication, and the ability to inspire and motivate teams. Andy’s sessions offer practical strategies for personal growth and professional development

Wayne Spencer will go on to tackle the challenging subject of ‘change management’, while examining evidence-based recommendations. Wayne is an independent consultant and a registered Authorising Engineer who advises on all aspect of decontamination and sterilisation of medical devices. 

The event has achieved CPD status and is free of charge to attend. To register, email: study@ wassenburgmedical.co.uk

 

Upcoming Events

Infection Prevention & Control

National Conference Centre, Birmingham
23rd - 24th April 2024

ESGE Days 2024, Symposium – ‘Elevating Endoscopy: Inspiring Progress and Innovation’

Estrel Congress Center (room 15), Berlin, Germany
25th April 2024, 16:30 – 17:30 CEST

National DERS and SMART pump conference

BCEC, Birmingham
29th April 2024

Theatres & Decontamination Conference 2024

Coventry Building Society Arena
16th May 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - Birmingham

Millennium Point, Birmingham
18th May 2024

BAUN Summer Educational Event – Essential Urology Skills

Crowne Plaza, Newcastle Stephenson Quarter
6th June 2024

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

Upcoming Events

Infection Prevention & Control

National Conference Centre, Birmingham
23rd - 24th April 2024

ESGE Days 2024, Symposium – ‘Elevating Endoscopy: Inspiring Progress and Innovation’

Estrel Congress Center (room 15), Berlin, Germany
25th April 2024, 16:30 – 17:30 CEST

National DERS and SMART pump conference

BCEC, Birmingham
29th April 2024

Theatres & Decontamination Conference 2024

Coventry Building Society Arena
16th May 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - Birmingham

Millennium Point, Birmingham
18th May 2024

BAUN Summer Educational Event – Essential Urology Skills

Crowne Plaza, Newcastle Stephenson Quarter
6th June 2024

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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