Dare to defy the dogma in decontamination

A recent study day, hosted by the Central Sterilising Club, focused on the theme ‘Dare 
to Defy the Dogma’, with the aim of challenging the ‘thinking and norms’ within the infection prevention and decontamination sectors. Louise Frampton reports.

Held at the iconic Liverpool Medical Institute in October 2023, the CSC's Autumn Study Day was opened by Jimmy Walker, Chairman of the CSC. The programme provided some thought-provoking presentations on reducing healthcare-associated infections — from the use of probiotics in hospital environments, balancing infection control with sustainability, to the risks associated with prion diseases and the challenges around difficult to clean instruments. Other highlights included the microbiological risks associated with hospital laundry; whether the overestimation of risks around the decontamination of semi critical devices is 'less bad' than underestimation; and the integration of decontamination services in Liverpool.

The first session, 'Thinking outside the box' was chaired by Mike Simmons, who introduced Dr. Mary O'Riordan, co-founder of HaPPE Earth. A clinical entrepreneur and previously a doctor for over 18 years, Dr. O'Riordan, highlighted the issue of plastic PPE pollution in hospitals. It is widely acknowledged that infection prevention has presented some unintended challenges around sustainability — during the pandemic, for example, the use of single-use plastic PPE "escalated to enormous quantities". This is an issue she is keen to address.

Dr. O'Riordan previously worked within the area of public health, specialising in Emergency Response for Highly Emerging, Infectious Threats. She has also been the International Health Regulations (IHR) and ECDC Irish Focal Point representative for emerging infectious threats. She realised there was a risk that her legacy would be "to cover the world in plastic", so she decided to set up a family-owned business called HaPPE Earth (short for Health, Agriculture and PPE). She pointed out that plastic waste is generated at a rate approaching 400 million tonnes per year. Healthcare is a major contributor to the single-use plastics problem. Only 18% of plastic waste is recycled, and 24% is incinerated. The remaining 58% is either sent to landfill or enters the natural environment.

Log in or register FREE to read the rest

This story is Premium Content and is only available to registered users. Please log in at the top of the page to view the full text. If you don't already have an account, please register with us completely free of charge.

Latest Issues

AfPP Annual Conference 2024

University of Warwick
2nd - 3rd August 2024

The Operating Theatres North Show 2024

Etihad Stadium, Manchester
12th September 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - London

Cavendish Conference Centre, London
14th September 2024

Infection Prevention 2024

ICC Birmingham
23rd - 25th September 2024

Future Surgery

ExCeL London
1st - 2nd October 2024