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News & Notices

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CSC Christmas Special Bulletin – Dec 2023

Christmas and the end of another year is upon us! Time flies doesn’t it?
Here is our final news round up for the year. We hope you enjoy reading it and find it informative.

A Note from the Chair 


Dear CSC Members,

We hope that those who attended our autumn study day enjoyed it as much as we did. Whilst we had a few unexpected hiccups with the live streaming and AV, the quality of the presentations was outstanding and the audience participation was very welcome – so thank you for your patience. And a special thanks to Elisabetta Caselli for staying with us whilst we sorted out her live link.  Somehow I think we will be revisiting sustainability and defying the dogma in due course.

We have been planning the 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting for some time now and as you will see on the website, the programme is looking good. If you are a corporate member then please apply for one of the four presentations (more details below) – we look forward to receiving your applications in due course. 

We are also looking forward to welcoming all our members to the ASM at Gerrard’s Cross and to ensuring that our meetings are what you want. To do that we need your feedback from the meetings and it would be good to hear how you think we should gather that information. 

In the meantime we wish all our CSC members a very Merry Christmas and hope that you all have some fantastic down time with your family over the festive break.

All the very best,

Jimmy Walker

CSC Activities

Our Autumn Study was held at the iconic Liverpool Medical Institute in October and we purposefully chose the theme ‘Dare to Defy the Dogma,’ to once again challenge our thinking and the norms our field can sometimes get stuck in.

Our first session – ‘Thinking outside the box’ was chaired by Mike Simmons who introduced Mary O’Riordan co-founder of HaPPE Earth and Elisabetta Caselli from the University of Ferrara, Italy.

“Aprons, aprons everywhere creating quite a stink – thinking outside the box for single use plastic PPE waste.”

Mary  is a doctor with 18 years in clinical medical practice and the Co-founder of HaPPE Earth. You can find her biography at the bottom of this page

HaPPE Earth: HaPPE Earth champions sustainability and the circular economy by aiming to  bring together CE approved, compostable PPE products with an SDG impact measurement tool for healthcare and a medical waste industrial, composting solution.

Mary presented on how her and the team approached using different materials that were compostable as an alternative product to make Class 1 medical device PPE. They investigated plant resin (check out her talk (see details below) to discover which one they settled on)

Their concept with PPE is to have a compost bin in the ward  or by the bed side which is taken to a central bio-digestion system, where it gets treated to neutralise any pathogens and made into nutrient rich fertiliser or biofuel.

They are innovating in Medical composting, the circular economy and addressing the comfort factor for staff through their product being breathable.

“Not only the gut: Can we really use probiotics to ameliorate the hospital microbiota?”

Next up was Elisabetta who had planned to be with us in person but due to contracting covid had to present to us on-line and she was keen to do this live as opposed to sending us a recording (although you can also watch her presentation through the details below)

You can find Elisabetta’s biography also at the bottom of at the bottom of this page

To provide the context for her presentation Elisabetta reviewed their observations of the built environment and identified that hospital environments can be described as a ‘super organism’ as they each have their own microbiome, much like each human being has theirs.

It was observed that the more controlled environment showed a decrease in biodiversity with the consequence that it increased resistance against antimicrobials and disinfectants. Thus the hospital environment becomes a reservoir of pathogens causing 5 to 15% of patients to contract an HAI.

During the pandemic hospitals approached cleaning in the conventional way through increased use of chemical disinfectants.

They discovered three key limitations:

  1. Most chemical disinfectants were inactive within 1 hour, therefore their effect was temporary
  2. An increase in the environmental impact to both health and water pollution
  3. An increased selection of antimicrobial resistant strains and cross resistance occurring

Elisabetta’s research group wanted to answer the question, “How can the above limitations be overcome whilst also being microbially effective?”

The rest of her presentation was so inspiring you’ll need to watch it (see more info below) yourself to fully appreciate this fantastic piece of research and it’s potential impact on the future of managing the healthcare built environment.

“Overview of prions disease and the implications for decontamination units”

Neil Watson was our next speaker visiting us from Scotland to share the latest on prions and prion diseases.

He reviewed what prions are and the diseases related to them all of which are transmissible. The most common form is called ‘sporadic’ and is the one most seen in humans as CJD.

Neil showed a timeline of prion disease development which actually started back in the 1700’s largely noted as scrapie in sheep and goats. It was fascinating to see how our knowledge and understanding evolved around this infectious agent over time, and how the 1986 to 1992 epidemic of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) framed our thinking around healthcare and RMD decontamination.

Take aways included:

 “very long period of latency prior to their manifestation and ultimately the death of infected individuals.”

“sporadic CJD is by far the most common form of prion disease”

“Currently an incurable disease, there’s no measures to detect it before symptoms develop”

“ Prion diseases are transmissible – but not contagious”

Check out Neils presentation once you get access.

Jim Tinsdeall

“Interpreting and understanding CJD CSSD guidance on difficult to clean instruments”

Jim Tinsdeall followed Neil’s talk and reviewed the difference between guidance, law and standards highlighting the challenges with varying interpretations. Jim discussed how improvements in cleaning instruments can be made. Concluding his presentation with the ultimate responsibility remains with “the processor to ensure that the processing as actually performed using the equipment, materials and personnel in the facility achieve the desired result.”

An Afternoon contemplating ‘semi-critical’ care equipment as described by Spaulding’s criteria

The afternoon session took a look at the risks associated with laundry decontamination where Karren Staniforth shared her findings and observations from investigations into outbreaks across the UK.

Karren highlighted the risk of contamination to people handling the laundry and the risks of patients acquiring infection from recontaminated laundry, citing lots of literature as evidence that these acquisitions do happen.  
Look out for Karren’s recorded presentation.

Laundry validation is not as robust as reusable medical devices and maybe this is an area of decontamination improvement for the future.

Karren was followed by Wayne Spencer discussing HTM’s for Laundry decontamination and the areas for potential misinterpretation.

John Prendergast challenged whether over estimation of risk was better than under estimation for semi critical reusable devices, revisiting spauldings criteria and highlighting that investigations have shown there is a risk of transmission from equipment to patients. Perhaps it’s time for all clinical staff to acknowledge there are risks in their semi critical devices decontamination procedures where decon staff are not involved.

Rounding off the day with a local speaker was Robbie Cormie, Trust Decontamination Lead, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Robbie gave a fantastic overview of his journey in the integration of decontamination services across Liverpool, Cheshire and Merseyside.

And finished his talk with a quote from Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”

Pointing out that learning to collaborate efficiently is key to progress.


as Jimmy mentioned we had some AV challenges and were unable to record the whole day, however, some of our amazing speakers were happy to record their presentations or part of them and so we have those available along with all the others and can be found on our Shop page. For those of you who attended the Autumn Study Day and are members you can get free access to these recordings please contact Becky at [email protected] and she’ll be able to get you set up.

Other News

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Many thanks to Jim Tinsdeall and Gerry McDonnel for representing the CSC at the Federation of Infection Society Microbiology Conference on the 14/15th of November in Edinburgh.  The theme was manufacturer’s instructions and Jim spoke on decontamination of phaco handpieces which are used in surgery to restore vision in people with cataracts. Whilst Gerry spoke about the complexities of challenges manufacturers face to ensure that their instruments are decontaminated effectively to reduce the risk to patients.  Many thanks to them both for giving up their valuable time to represent the CSC Thank you gentlemen 😊

A call for expressions of Interest for joining the CSC Committee

At the annual AGM in April there will be several changes including a new chair as Jimmy Walker (Chair) has reached the end of his three year position and the new Chair will take over at the 2024 AGM.  In addition Mike Bowden (Treasurer) will be retiring from the committee.

These changes will result in 2 opportunities for members to come forward and fulfil the roles of committee members. As such we would be delighted for CSC members to express an interest in joining the committee to enable us to fulfil our commitments to the members.  

If you haven’t already seen the emails with the attached nomination form, please contact Becky via email at [email protected] and she will forward a copy to you. This form should be returned by the 18th of January 2024 to our secretary Tracy at [email protected]

What quote we’re pondering

Some of you may follow Roy Lilley’s eLetter which arrives in your mail box three times a week.

He exclusively writes about the healthcare and the NHS. If you haven’t come across him here’s the link to his site called fabnhsstuff

Having read his letter titled ‘Technicolour…’ this quote popped out as a reminder of the difference between being effective (doing the right thing) vs efficient (doing things right) – Sometimes the systems and processes hinder doing the right thing and we need to re-look at them!

quote for dec23

The Annual Scientific Meeting 2024 – 15th/16th April 2024

For those who missed the recent posts, registration and ticket sales are now open and can be found through this link.

We will be adding speaker bio’s in due course and updating the programme as and when necessary.

If you are a corporate member and would like to secure one of the four corporate speaking slots, we are now inviting you to express your interest. Please contact Becky via [email protected] for the presentation guidelines and other details.

What other events are upcoming

Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene – 49th Annual Topics in Infection – Royal College of Pathologists, London, 26th January 2024

The Third Annual Healthcare Innovation and Technology Conference and Exhibition 2024 – Royal Society of medicine, London, 27th February 2024

Decon UK – National Confernce Centre, Birmingham – 17th April 2024

Infection Prevention & Control – National Conference Centre, Birmingham – 23rd to 24th April 2024

Let us know what you’re thinking

Thanks again to our members for all your support.
Please let us know what you think about this news bulletin.

If you have any recommendations for reading or listening resource then please contact Becky via email at [email protected]

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Upcoming CSC events


Membership is open to any individual or company actively engaged in sterile product manufacture, control of microbial contamination and associated methods, and research and training activities.