Sterilising department goes digital

Media Release
June 9, 2017

Surgical trays will soon have a digital passport as part of an $8.5 million Federally funded refurbishment of The Townsville Hospital’s central sterilising department

The CSD is responsible for cleaning, sterilising and taking inventory of more than 20,000 surgical items from 14 operating theatres and four public dental services every day.

Townsville Hospital and Health Board Acting Chair Michelle Morton said the redevelopment has seen the CSD almost double in size and delivered new fully automated state-of-the-art equipment.

“This is a sophisticated, modern and contemporary clinical sterilising department that will keep our health service at the forefront of health care delivery in our region,” Ms Morton said.
“This unit is an essential cog in the daily operations of North Queensland’s largest tertiary referral centre, ensuring the equipment our surgeons and dentists use is safe and functional every time.”

Today, Ms Morton toured the new department tracking the journey each piece of surgical equipment goes through before being returned to theatre.
Equipment used in surgical procedures arrives on surgical trays to the CSD through a dedicated elevator linked to operating theatres.

The trays go through five separate zones, decontamination, cleaning, packaging, sterilising before cooling in a clean room.

CSD nurse unit manager Norma Ponte said at each stage the surgical equipment needed to pass through a series of rigorous checks.

The sterilisation process requires the equipment to be steam cleaned at 134 degrees Celsius for exactly 10 minutes. The machine provides a digital readout of temperature and time and if it is even slightly out the process is redone, Ms Ponte said.

“The entire process takes about three hours from when we receive the equipment to when we send it back to theatre,” she said.

“Everyone here takes our jobs very seriously and are committed to making sure that the equipment used at The Townsville Hospital has been completely processed.”

Nursing director perioperative and critical care, Ray Green said the refurbished department was now among the most sophisticated in Queensland.

“The new equipment and our tracking system will provide a more comprehensive service and make it easier to log and track equipment, saving a significant amount of staff time,” he said.

Ms Morton said he also wanted to acknowledge the hard work and resilience of the CSD staff who have continued to maintain core services throughout the duration of the redevelopment.

“This has been a major redevelopment and our hard working staff’s commitment to keeping their safety and quality standards high is something I am extremely proud of,” Ms Morton said.

“The commissioning of the new CSD is a significant milestone not just for The Townsville Hospital but our community.”

Contact: Public Affairs 4433 1016