Construction of State-of-the-Art Sterilisation Facility Underway

Healthcare Sterilisation Facility Build

Construction of an £8 million state-of-the-art healthcare sterilisation facility is underway in Northumberland.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s centralised sterilisation service department (CSSD) is being built next to its emergency hospital in Cramlington.

The CSSD will be carbon neutral and provide a critical support service for the trust and other healthcare organisations. It will have the ability to disinfect and sterilise more than half a million pieces of medical equipment a year, used in a wide range of hospital departments and in GP practices.

Cramlington-based Merit, the trust’s construction and engineering partner, is one of the UK’s leading specialists in zero carbon design and in manufacturing pre-assembled sections of buildings which are then transported to site for rapid assembly. 90% of this project will be completed offsite, reducing construction time and cost.

The two-storey bespoke facility, which is due to be completed by early 2021, will replace and centralise the trust’s two sterilisation departments currently located at Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals. These units were built more than 30 years ago and sterilise 300,000 pieces of medical equipment. Another benefit of centralising the two departments is freeing up space at Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals for clinical services.

It will take around four and a half hours for a piece of medical equipment to go through the disinfection and sterilisation process.

The medical equipment will be disassembled, quality checked to ensure all parts are fully exposed and can be cleaned while travelling along a conveyor belt through different cycles, reassembled, packed, wrapped and sterilised again. The facility will also have the ability to disinfect trollies and beds.

As other health organisations may also be looking at medical equipment sterilisation solutions and alternatives, the Northumbria Healthcare facility will have enough capacity to provide this service.

Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management project director, Owen Cusack, said: “Ensuring the medical equipment used in our hospitals is sterilised and safe to use by our clinicians in many departments ranging from theatres and A&E to the podiatry and dental services is critical. This investment further demonstrates our commitment to providing excellent quality care, while building patient confidence, and to being at the forefront of healthcare in our region and further afield.

The new CSSD will support our on-going programme of work to drive down carbon emissions and will be powered by green electricity. It will also be more efficient than our current sterilisation department due to faster cleaning cycles.”

Matt McGrady, finance director at Merit, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver such an important facility to support the delivery of patient care. We will work with our embedded supply chain partners, 75% of whom are North East based, to ensure that the project is delivered to the highest quality, on time and within budget.

We are also very pleased to be able to support the trust in their continued efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Our team has extensive experience in manufacturing pre-assembled buildings. The new facility will be delivered as part of our zero-carbon 2020 strategy, which we introduced this year, eliminating fossil fuels from our projects to help clients address the challenges of climate change by creating zero-carbon solutions.”

Video including interviews with the Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management project director, Owen Cusack, and finance director at construction partner, Merit, Matt McGrady

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