Healthcare Estates Conference 2023 – Come see us there!

The Healthcare Estates Conference 2023 is being held at Manchester Central this year from 10th to 11th November. And it’s promising to be a great event for estates and facilities managers in the healthcare sector.

We’ll be exhibiting on stand A57, so if you are one of our many existing customers for workplace exposure monitoring, personal sampling or chemical spill management do drop by to say hello.

If our name is completely new to you, we would also love to see you and talk to you about how we can help you.

Healthcare Estates Conference 2023 – What’s New
We are bringing a couple of new products with us to Healthcare Estates 2023 that are designed to help both staff and patients stay safe in the hospital environment.

Our Blueair Health Protect range of air purifiers are ideal for places where staff and patients congregate including waiting areas, meeting rooms, wards and restaurants.

Our Blueair air purifiers remove and kill 99% of viruses and bacteria captured in the filter. They also comprise HEPASilent technology which catches 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns such as viruses and bacteria. Just click here to see our full range:

Also in the spotlight at the Healthcare Estates Exhibition, will be our new Sundstrom Air Fed Hood kits. These are ideal for staff that cannot use standard respirators from our chemical spill kits. This may be due to not yet having had a proper face-fit test, or because they have facial hair which prevents effective face-fitting.

Click here for more information:

What we can also help you with @HCEstates?

We can also talk you though our range of COSHH workplace exposure monitoring services and personal sampling for theatre, endoscopy and maternity departments. Or help you to find the right chemical spill kit and training for your needs.

Learning and Networking at the Healthcare Estates conference

Of course, we are sure that two of the main reasons that you will be attending the event are to tap into knowledge transfer and networking opportunities.

To find out more about these just visit or click here to register to attend

We look forward to seeing you there!


What is Clinical Waste and How To Dispose of it Safely?

In this post we’ll list some examples of clinical waste before discussing how you can safely dispose of it. We’ll also explore some solutions for fast and effective clinical waste disposal that may help you improve operational efficiency in your healthcare setting.

What is Clinical Waste?

Clinical waste is any waste that contains infectious, or potentially infectious, compounds derived from either medical treatments or biological research.

Clinical waste might also be referred to as biomedical, healthcare or hospital waste.

Examples of Clinical Waste

  • Discarded sharps. Whether they’re contaminated or not, all discarded sharps are considered medical waste, partly because they can cause injury and/or infection when they’re not properly disposed of. Examples include needles, scalpels, lancets, and any other device that could penetrate the skin.
  • Human or animal tissue. This includes identifiable body parts and organs, body fluids such as blood, and used bandages and dressings.
  • Used medical supplies. This includes any gloves or other items of PPE, whether they’ve been contaminated with body fluids or not.
  • Laboratory waste. Including unwanted microbiological cultures and stocks.
  • General waste from a medical or laboratory setting. Due to the risk of cross-contamination, any other waste that’s recognisably from a medical or laboratory setting should also be considered clinical waste and handled accordingly. Examples include packaging, unused bandages, and infusion kits.

The Risks of Clinical Waste

Many types of clinical waste carry an infection risk. Even if an item does not appear to have any visible signs of soiling, if it was used in a medical or laboratory setting, then it may be harbouring pathogens that are invisible to the naked eye. Coming into contact with clinical waste could therefore encourage the spread of communicable diseases.

Clinical waste can be harmful in other ways, too. For example, whether they’ve been used or not, discarded sharps can seriously injure anyone who comes into contact with them.

How to Safely Dispose of Clinical Waste

To protect the public and the environment, clinical waste must be processed to allow for safe handling and disposal. This usually requires incineration, to destroy any pathogens and sharps in the waste, and to make any source materials unrecognisable. Autoclaves can also be used to sterilise medical waste before it’s safe for disposal.

Clinical waste is usually disposed of in a dedicated environment using specialist equipment. As most healthcare settings and laboratories do not have the space or budget for such measures, clinical waste is usually accumulated onsite before being collected for offsite disposal.

As such, for most medical and laboratory settings, managing clinical waste is usually a case of using the right PPE to handle or clean any waste items or tissue, before disposing of the waste in the appropriate steam.

What are Waste Streams?

A standard infection control precaution is to maintain four separate waste streams, each of which is colour coded. Clinical waste should be disposed of based on the infection risk it carries. It’s classed as orange or light blue if it’s low-risk or “laboratory” waste, or yellow if it carries a high-risk of infection. Healthcare settings should also make use of sharp boxes to safely collect used sharps.

The containers for collecting and transporting clinical waste are usually designed to be as robust as possible, to prevent any tearing, spilling, and contamination. For example, rigid boxes are generally used for sharps.

Effective Clinical Waste Management for Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings

Safely managing your clinical waste is a critical part of any infection prevention and control strategy. Certain techniques and equipment can make clinical waste management a lot safer and a lot easier, which in turn can improve your hospital’s operational efficiency.

For example, use absorbent mats to capture fluids during surgical procedures, or to contain splashes when you’re scrubbing up. The T-Mat, for example, gels liquids and becomes dry to the touch within minutes. It hygienically binds fluids, allowing for safe, quick, and easy disposal in the appropriate waste steam. Through cutting down on the time you spend cleaning and decontaminating, the T-Mat can significantly improve your turnaround time between procedures.

As well as a range of absorbent mats, we also stock a selection of clinical waste disposal kits. Our range includes the safe, sturdy and dependable Microb-in Lab waste Disposal container case, and specialist Biohazard Spill Kits and Body Fluid Spill Kits.

Get in touch to discuss how we can support you in safe and effective clinical waste management.

Operating Theatre Must-Have Equipment Checklist

Three things are vital to delivering an efficient operating theatre:

In this post, we’ll discuss the must-have equipment for any operating theatre.

Why Does Equipment Make a Difference in Operating Theatres?

Obviously, all operating theatre procedures depend upon specialist surgical equipment. You need surgical equipment you can depend on. But it’s just as important to carefully consider the rest of the equipment you use in the operating theatre.

Between each procedure, you’ll have to clean, decontaminate, or sterilise the operating theatre environment, your surgical instruments, and your medical equipment.

Any equipment you use will either be reusable or disposable. With single-use equipment, so long as it’s adequately stored and handled, you can use it during the procedure safe in the knowledge that it’s clean and sterile, and simply dispose of it in the appropriate waste channel following the procedure. But with reusable equipment, you’ll have to take appropriate steps to ensure everything’s adequately processed before and after each procedure.

In this way, the specific equipment you choose for your operating theatre can make a huge difference to your patient outcomes, and to your turnaround time.

Your choice of equipment can also influence your operational efficiency (through reducing clutter while providing ease of access, for example), and the comfort and safety of your theatre team.

Operating Theatre Must-Have Equipment Checklist

Surgical Lights

For illuminating the surgical site while eliminating shadows. Surgical lights can either be LED or halogen. Of the two, LED is more energy efficient. It also provides a brighter, whiter light, and it generates less heat, which can make things more comfortable for surgical teams.

Operating Table

The table upon which the patient lies for the duration of the procedure. Operating tables are often adjustable and with moving parts, to help the surgical team position the patient as necessary for the procedure.

Equipment Management Systems

These provide storage and ease of access for all the necessary surgical equipment, alongside housing for wires and cables.

This can improve operational efficiency through allowing the surgical team to easily access the equipment they need as soon as they need it. These systems can also reduce clutter, helping to remove tripping and slipping hazards.

Operating theatres may also contain warming cabinets, which can be used to keep fluids, linens, and blankets warm, to help reduce the risk of hypothermia during certain procedures.

Surgical Displays

Display systems can either provide up-to-date information about the patient’s status, or they can provide an intricate, magnified view of the patient’s inner anatomy during certain invasive procedures.

Surgical displays may be wall-mounted, or they may be attached to arms or columns.

Surgical Instruments

A surgeon’s tools of the trade. Surgical instruments are used exclusively in sterile spaces, and they’re specifically designed to penetrate a patient’s skin or mucous membrane. Different procedures will require different instruments.

We specialise in supplying high quality instruments for use across a broad range of surgical disciplines. If you’d like to discuss your surgical instrument requirements, get in touch to talk to an expert today.

Scrub Sinks

Operating theatre teams use scrub sinks to wash their hands and forearms before performing surgical procedures. Good hand hygiene is an essential part of effective infection prevention and control in operating theatres.

This is one area where the specific choice of equipment can make a huge difference to your theatre’s operational efficiency. An absorbent floor mat in the theatre or scrub room can help reduce slippery floors and can also reduce turnaround times between procedures.

The most superabsorbent mat, the T-Mat, can absorb up to 8.5 litres of liquid during a procedure, and afterwards your team can quickly and easily dispose of it in the clinical waste. This will dramatically cut down on your cleaning time, with no need for any noisy, time-consuming suction devices and tubing.

We Can Help You Deliver Exceptional Care Quality Standards in the Operating Theatre

Cairn Technology are approved suppliers to both NHS and private healthcare providers. We specialise in helping operating theatre teams improve efficiency and care quality standards.

As well as stocking a range of surgical instruments and specialist infection control products, we can provide expert advice on improving operational effectiveness in the theatre. Get in touch to discuss our products and services with  one of our friendly experts today.

How Does Infection Spread in a Hospital?

In this post we’ll discuss how infections spread in hospitals and explore some ways you can prevent and control infections in your hospital.

Ways Infections Spread in Hospitals

Most hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) spread in one of two ways:

  • As a result of treatment.
  • From person-to-person, or via another communicable disease vector (pathogens on a surface, or in the air, for example).

You can read our guide to the most common hospital-acquired infections.

How Infections Spread as a Result of Treatment

Some hospital-acquired infections can spread as a direct result of certain medical treatments.

Examples include:

  • Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) – Invasive procedures involve making incisions in a patient’s skin. Though such procedures are performed in highly controlled sterile environments, it’s possible for incision wounds to get contaminated by microorganisms from the patient’s own body, or from outside sources.
  • Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) – diff bacteria can exist harmlessly in the bowel. But a course of antibiotics can sometimes cause a bacterial imbalance in the gut, triggering a CDI.

How Communicable Diseases Spread in Hospitals

A patient or a member of staff might bring an existing infection into a healthcare setting such as a hospital. Or a patient may develop an infection during their hospital stay while receiving treatment for an unrelated condition.

These are communicable diseases, and they can spread in a number of ways:

  • From Person-to-Person – Coughs, sneezes, and even touches can spread viruses and bacteria from person to person. CDI, for example, is a common hospital-acquired infection because a major symptom is diarrhoea, which can act as a vector for the spread of bacteria. And of course, during the 2020 pandemic it became clear just how quickly Covid-19 can spread from person-to-person in a hospital.
  • Indirect Contact – Viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens can survive for hours, or even days, on surfaces and inanimate objects. A patient may cough or sneeze into their hand. If they then use a doorhandle or a light switch, any staff member or patient who subsequently touches that item may pick up their germs. And if they then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes, they may introduce the germs into their bloodstream.
  • Contamination – Finally, eating or drinking contaminated food or water can spread communicable diseases. E. coli, for example, is a common hospital-acquired infection, and it can be contracted from eating undercooked meat.

How To Prevent The Spread of Diseases in a Hospital

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued recommendations that could help prevent SSIs in hospitals. These include a series of steps for the preoperative phase (including showering and nasal decolonisation), recommendations for staff and patient theatre wear, and a series of checks to make both before and after the procedure. Read the full NICE guidelines for preventing SSIs here.

When it comes to controlling communicable diseases, hospitals must follow the standard infection control precautions (SICPs):

These include:

  • Patient placement – Perform a comprehensive infection risk assessment for each patient, and isolate patients with a high risk of cross-infection.
  • Hand hygiene – Follow a specific hand-washing technique to thoroughly clean your hands at key touchpoints – such as before and after interacting with a patient and their surroundings. Also advise patients to follow good hand hygiene guidelines and provide plenty of handwashing stations throughout your hospital.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – There should be clear procedures for what PPE to use and when. You should also have procedures for storing, applying, removing, and disposing of PPE.
  • Cleaning – Commit to safe management of both care equipment and the care environment. Thorough cleaning should take place regularly and on an ongoing basis. You should also have specialist procedures for cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization in the event of outbreaks, and for high-risk equipment and environments.

Read our full guide to standard infection control precautions in hospitals and healthcare settings.

Control the Spread of Hospital-Acquired Infections

At Cairn Technology, we’ve been helping both NHS and private hospitals prevent and control infections for over 20 years.

We can help you with:

To discuss how we can help you prevent and control infection in your hospital, get in touch to talk to one of our friendly experts today.


2023 Vet Shortage in the UK: Why and What Now?

All healthcare services in the UK are currently facing a number of serious, ongoing issues. Staff shortages and industrial action have resulted in long ambulance waiting times, and there have also been reports of scores of dentists leaving the NHS.

The veterinary sector has faced similar challenges. In this post we’ll discuss the 2023 vet shortage in the UK, examining why it’s happening and exploring what might happen next.

Is There a Vet Shortage in the UK?

The UK’s veterinary workforce relies on overseas registrants to meet required levels, but the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) figures suggest that the annual number of registrants coming to work as vets in the UK fell by 68%, from 1,132 in 2019 to 365 in 2021.

This is a significant proportion of vets in the UK as in 2019, up to 48% of new registrants had graduated outside the UK. The British Veterinary Association, the UK’s largest membership body for vets, has warned of “wide-ranging direct and knock-on impacts across the sector” as a result of severe vet shortages.

Why Is There a Shortage of Vets?

There are three underlying reasons for the UK’s current vet shortage:

  • Brexit – A major reason why the sector saw such a significant drop in overseas registrants is due to the end of free movement that followed Brexit. The process for new vets to apply for work in the UK is a lot more complicated than it was a few years ago, and as a result fewer vets overall are migrating to work in the UK.
  • The Pandemic – New laws throughout the COVID-19 pandemic required vets, nurses, and other staff members to self-isolate whenever they tested positive for the virus. This will have created a significant backlog of care, similar to the crisis the NHS is currently facing. As a result, there are more cases than staff can handle, so many practices across the country have had to close their doors to new pet registrations.
  • A Rise in Pet Ownership – New pet registrations soared during the government’s enforced COVID-19 lockdowns. This will have added even further to vets’ workload, which will have already been stretched to breaking point by the effects of the pandemic.

On top of these three issues, some vets are reporting “relentless calls and constant abuse”. Large numbers of exhausted and burnt-out vets have quit their practices. And given the ongoing problems with the labour market, many practices have struggled to replace them.

How is the Sector Managing the Vet Shortages?

We have seen some initiatives to address the vet shortages across the country.

The RCVS has released an action plan to tackle the vet shortages. Just like other healthcare workers, vets are often required to work long hours at a time multiple days in a row, often up to 60 hours a week. So among the RCVS’s proposals are a move towards more flexible working patterns for vets, nurses, and other staff.

They have also proposed to widen the role that veterinary nurses play. Throughout the pandemic years, veterinary nurses were often forced to step up to take the strain off vets. The RCVS has suggested formalising this expanded role for veterinary nurses, with corresponding pay rises and other compensations.

This action plan may make a difference in the long-term, yet given the current extent of the problem, it may be some time before the industry can properly recover.

Small Things Can Make a Big Difference

In times of crisis, it becomes vitally important that you can make full use of all of your available resources. In short, you need to be able to do more with less. We offer certain specialist solutions that will help you improve your operational efficiency with your current workforce.

For example, our DryMax absorbent mats may not look like much, but when used in your treatment rooms, each mat can absorb up to two litres of all liquids. And even when saturated, an anti-skid barrier layer will keep the mat in place and prevent the fluid from leaking any further.

These specialist absorbent mats reduce the fall risk from wet and slippery floors, and you can quickly and easily dispose of them afterwards. This will significantly reduce the time you spend cleaning between procedures. So you’ll have less down-time, and a considerably faster turnaround time, which may mean you can see more pets each day than before.

At Cairn Technology we can also supply you with the surgical instruments you need to undertake a multitude of surgical procedures on animals. This includes Bergstrom-Stille muscle biopsy cannulas, SuperCut scissors, forceps and retractors.

Get in touch to discuss how our specialist solutions and services can help you improve the operational efficiency in your veterinary practice.


Staffing Issues & Safe Staffing Levels in Operating Theatres

The healthcare sector is currently facing severe staffing shortages. This is contributing to a number of problems, including a huge backlog of care, and long ambulance waiting times.

It goes without saying that staff shortages can have a negative impact on the quality-of-care hospitals and other healthcare settings can deliver. Yet there are some areas of the hospital where staffing levels can make the difference between life and death.

In this post we’ll discuss safe staffing levels in operating theatres, and discuss some strategies for increasing the efficiency of your department.

Safe Staffing Levels in Operating Theatres

It takes a huge team of practitioners, specialists, and support staff to run an operating theatre. Recent operating room staffing guidelines suggested placing limits on staff work schedules. They advised scheduling no more than 12 hours a day, no more than three consecutive days of 12-hour shifts, and no more than 60 hours a week.

Knock-On Impact of Staff Shortages

Staff shortages in the operating theatre make it difficult to devise optimum rotas. This means that any available staff will inevitably be overstretched and overworked, which will lead to a number of problems:

  • Stress, exhaustion, and anxiety. Working long hours in a complex environment like an operating theatre will take its toll on practitioners’ mental health. And when long hours become the rule rather than the exception, practitioners risk burnout, and some may feel that they have no choice but to quit.
  • Lack of learning and development. Operating theatre teams look out for each other, which includes helping new members of the team learn on the job. When everyone’s overworked, there’ll be little time for learning and development opportunities.
  • Delayed or cancelled operations. If the staff isn’t there to carry out the operations, the operations will not take place. Many patients may face excessive waits for critical operations.
  • Longer turnaround time between procedures. An understaffed operating theatre will not be able to run at optimum efficiency. There may be fewer procedures carried out each day, with much longer turnaround times between each procedure.

How Bad is the Current Operating Theatre Staffing Situation?

The latest NHS figures show that, as of November 2022, there were 3% more professionally qualified clinical staff in the NHS compared to the previous year. Though the NHS’s staffing crisis is showing signs of improvement, the increased staffing may not be enough to meet demand.

In January 2023, in response to industrial action across the UK, the government discussed plans to introduce new legislation for “minimum safety levels” in a range of sectors, including healthcare. Such legislation may introduce a minimum legal staffing level for operating theatres and other departments.

Improving the Efficiency of Your Operating Theatre

The NHS Productive Operating Theatre strategy includes a number of initiatives that operating theatre managers can adopt to improve the efficiency of their departments. You can read our full guidance to this strategy here.

Adopting these strategies might be easier said than done when you’re facing staffing level issues. Yet when it comes to improving operating theatre efficiency, small things can make a big difference.

At Cairn Technology, we’re here to help you run your operating theatre more efficiently and effectively. We have a number of products and services to help you do that, and a team of experts on hand to give you the advice you need.

For example, our absorbent floor mats can help to reduce your turnaround time between procedures. They can absorb spillages during operations, gelling liquid and becoming dry to the touch, allowing for non-drip disposal in the clinical waste. As well as reducing the risk of slips and trips, absorbent floor mats can drastically cut town on the amount of time spent cleaning between operations, which can contribute to improved efficiency for your whole department.

Whether you want a consultation on effective infection control, or some advice on improving operational effectiveness in the theatre, our experts are here to help.

Get in touch to talk to one of our experts today.

Why Is There a Shortage of Healthcare Workers in the UK?

The NHS is facing chronic staff shortages.

In this post we’ll discuss some of the problematic areas, and explore some of the root causes for the shortages.

Which Roles are Facing Shortages?


Before the 2020 pandemic, the UK was already facing a shortage of around 50,000 nurses. In December 2020, the Health Foundation said that the government will need to exceed its target of 50,000 new nurses in England by 2024/2025 if the NHS is to fully recover.

General Practitioners (GPs)

Official figures in March 2022 showed that one in 17 doctors’ posts – 5.8% in total – are unfilled.

These same figures suggested that the total number of unfilled posts across health services had risen to 110,192.


According to one report, at the end of 2020 there were 23,733 dentists providing care in England. By the end of January 2022, this figure had fallen to 21,544.

For more on the dentist shortage, read our full analysis of the shortage of NHS dentists.

Care Staff

One report suggests that 8.2% of care roles are unfilled. This amounts to a shortage of around 100,000 carers. A shortage of carers mean that many patients are “stuck” in hospital. They cannot be discharged because there isn’t the care staff to support them outside of hospital.

So a shortage of care workers will worsen the wider crisis in healthcare through limiting the number of hospital beds available.

What’s Causing The Shortage of Healthcare Staff?

A few factors are contributing to the shortage of healthcare staff.

  • The Pandemic – Most figures indicate that there were already staff shortages even before the pandemic begun. But Covid-19 compounded things, leading to an immense backlog of care. There may simply be more patients and more procedures than the workforce can manage.
  • Working conditions – Low pay, high pressure, and burnout from heavy workloads is causing many healthcare workers to quit. This is also why UK healthcare has seen industrial action in late 2022 and early 2023.
  • Recruitment – Regular news stories about the dire conditions healthcare workers face may discourage many from starting a career in healthcare. Brexit also contributed to a substantial drop in healthcare workers coming to the UK from EU countries.
  • Policies and Management – The government removed the nursing bursary in 2015. The Royal College of Nursing claim this was a key reason why nurse numbers dropped in the years leading up to the pandemic. Though the government would later partially reverse this policy, the damage may already be done.

What Are The Plans To Address These Shortages?

Official figures in October 2022 suggested that there have been slight rises in staffing across multiple healthcare sectors. But this increase in staffing will not be enough to meet demands.

Long-Term Workforce Plan

In November 2022, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made a pledge for a long-term workforce plan for the NHS. This plan does not appear to have been published yet.

Cross-Party Coalition

There have been calls for a cross-party coalition to address the situation. The suggestion is a “war-footing”. Public buildings could be converted into pop-up healthcare services so that volunteers could relieve some of the burden on ambulances and hospitals. Retired doctors and nurses could be encouraged to return to work, and “private sector hospitals and clinics should be commandeered.”

But a trio of healthcare specialists have released a statement against such drastic action. They point out that any workers returning to the fold would face “a bureaucratic mountain to climb”, and that the current political parties are so dysfunctional that collaboration seems impossible.

In the meantime healthcare services across the country are facing fresh job cuts and fresh industrial action.

Improving Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare Settings

Whilst we cannot help you address staff shortages in your hospital, we can help you to improve staff safety and well-being, and reduce theatre turnaround times.

Get in touch to talk to one of our experts today.


Occupational Health Hazards for Nurses and How to Prevent Them

Hospitals and healthcare settings can be hazardous environments to work in. Nurses face multiple occupational health hazards every day – some obvious, others not so obvious.

In this post we’ll list some common occupational health hazards for nurses, and how to prevent them.

Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards in Hospitals

Slips, trips and falls are an occupational health hazard in most, if not all, working environments. And hospitals and healthcare settings are no exception. The difference is that slips, trips and falls in the healthcare sector can be particularly dangerous.

If nurses slip or trip while carrying delicate medical equipment, sharp instruments, hazardous samples or substances, or even trays of food, then they could cause some serious harm to themselves and others.

There may also be more slipping and tripping hazards in healthcare settings than in other workplaces, including spilled fluids, dropped or discarded gowns, clothing or bedding, and devices and equipment left out of place.

The Solution

Thorough and comprehensive cleaning procedures can ensure that tripping and slipping hazards are addressed before they cause any problems. Fluid management is an important area of focus. Unless spills are cleaned as soon as possible, surfaces can remain slippery for hours.

We stock a range of spill kits to help hospitals address chemical and cytotoxic spills promptly, thoroughly, and effectively.

We also stock absorbent floor mats for better fluid management during procedures. Capable of absorbing up to 8.5 litres of water and 3.5 litres of saline, they gel liquids and become dry to the touch. So they immediately remove slipping hazards in surgical environments. And following the procedure, you can simply dispose of them, allowing for faster cleaning and swifter turnaround times.

Infection & Contamination Hazards for Nurses

Nurses work very closely with both staff and patients, and they regularly provide support during treatments and procedures. So there’s a constant risk of infection from coughs, sneezes, and other bodily fluids. And if nurses become contaminated, there’s the risk they’ll pass on these infections to other, more vulnerable patients.

But these aren’t the only infection and contamination risks in healthcare settings. Nurses must also consider bacteria, viruses and other organisms lingering on clothing and surfaces; VOCs and other chemicals; particulate matter from outside sources; and radiation from certain devices and procedures.

The Solution

Standard infection control precautions can help nurses and other healthcare workers prevent and control infection risks at all levels. Precautions include thorough cleaning protocols and procedures; standards for PPE; good hand hygiene; cough and sneeze etiquette, and more.

Air quality consultations can also help nurses identify the sort of infection and contamination risks they might face, and the measures they can take to overcome them.

Finally, hospital-grade air purifiers can remove many of the common contaminants and harmful substances found in hospital air, including viruses, bacteria, microplastics, VOCs, particulate matter, and more. Our range of air purifiers for the healthcare sector can catch up to 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns.

Heavy Lifting in Healthcare Settings

Heavy lifting is another occupational risk that’s found in almost all healthcare settings. But once again, the risk for nurses can be particularly high. This is due to the sorts of items and objects that nurses might be required to move, from vulnerable patients to expensive and delicate medical devices.

Nurses risk sprains and back injuries whenever they move heavy objects. But if they struggle and falter while moving a vulnerable patient, there’s a risk of concussion, broken bones, or even death.

The Solution

Adequate training in safe lifting techniques can help nurses manage these risks. Hospitals and healthcare settings should also have procedures and protocols in place for moving vulnerable patients. These might include using wheelchairs, stretchers and trolleys wherever possible, and never attempting to move a patient without assistance.

Stress and Exhaustion

There’s no denying that nursing is a tough job. Nurses face life and death situations every day. They work long hours while under considerable pressure, and often for insufficient pay. And as the NHS is currently facing a treatment backlog and a series of strikes and industrial action, it seems like things have never been more difficult for nurses and other healthcare workers.

All of this pressure is going to take its toll. Stress and exhaustion can be harmful in itself. But in the long-term, constant stress and exhaustion can lead to a number of other more serious health conditions.

The Solution

Government plans to tackle the NHS backlog might reduce some of the pressures that nurses face in their roles. But even without the current issues the NHS faces, stress and exhaustion have been occupational hazards in the healthcare sector for years.

The Health Foundation issues a series of recommendations for fixing some of the problems the NHS is currently facing. They suggested that increasing staff numbers could increase hospitals’ capacity, which could mean shorter working hours and reduced workloads for nurses. They also suggested on-the-job mental health and wellbeing support for healthcare staff.

Addressing Occupational Health Hazards for Nurses

From spill kits to infection control services, we offer a range of products and solutions that will help you address many of the occupational health hazards nurses face.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you make your healthcare setting safer and more efficient for staff and patients alike.

What is an Operating Department Practitioner and What Do They Do?

If you’re considering a new career in healthcare, or even a career shift, few working environments are more challenging yet more rewarding than an operating theatre.

We’ve got a comprehensive guide to the various roles and responsibilities in an operating theatre. We’ve also got a dedicated guide to the key responsibilities for operating theatre managers.

In this post we’ll take a closer look at the work of an operating department practitioner.

What is an Operating Department Practitioner?

Operating department practitioners play a vital role in all three stages of perioperative care:

  • Anaesthetic
  • Surgery
  • Recovery


Operating department practitioners provide essential help to patients before surgery. They might supervise patients to ensure they’re ready for their procedure. And where necessary, they might offer words of comfort and support.

Operating department practitioners will also support anaesthetists through helping them prepare their equipment and drugs. You’ll help set up anaesthetic machines, intravenous equipment, and the devices for securing the patient’s airways while they’re under anaesthetics.


Operating department practitioners are a key part of the surgery team. Once again, they’ll support surgeons through preparing all the necessary instruments and equipment for the procedure, such as microscopes and endoscopes.

During the procedure, operating department practitioners will provide the surgeon with all the correct instruments and materials. They’ll also act as a link between the surgical team and the other parts of the theatre and the hospital. Good communication can help decrease turnaround times between procedures, but it’s also vital to effective emergency response.

In short, during procedures, operating department practitioners must learn to anticipate the requirements of the surgical team and respond quickly and effectively. So surgical teams depend utterly on operating department practitioners. When ODPs take care of their practical and clinical needs, surgeons are free to concentrate entirely on the procedure.


Following the procedure, operating department practitioners support and monitor the patient once they arrive in the recovery unit. You may have to provide appropriate treatment while they recover from the short-term effects of the anaesthesia and surgery. And you’ll conduct the assessment to determine whether the patient’s ready for discharge to a ward.

What Else Does an Operating Department Practitioner Do?

Operating department practitioners might have the opportunity to specialise in different clinical specialities, or even to work across a wide variety of specialities.

You may also play an educational role, delivering training on clinical skills, resilience, and wellbeing to staff, students and learners.

For a good idea of the day in the life of an operating department practitioner, read this personal account from Jordan, an ODP at The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Delivering Exceptional Care Quality Standards

At Cairn Technology, we specialise in helping operating theatre teams improve efficiency and care quality standards.

In the operating theatre, the smallest thing can make a huge difference. For example, absorbent floor mats can collect all excess fluid during a procedure, and they can be simply picked up and discarded afterwards. So you’ll spend less time mopping between procedures, which will improve health and safety standards while also significantly cutting down on turnaround times.

We can provide expert advice on improving operational effectiveness in the theatre, as well as specialist consultation on effective infection control. Get in touch to talk to one of our friendly experts today.

Ambulance Cleaning and Decontamination Checklist

Regularly and thoroughly cleaning and decontaminating ambulances is essential for effective infection prevention and control.

Ambulance Cleaning and Decontamination Challenges

But there are several factors that make ambulance cleaning and decontamination challenging. It can be cramped inside an ambulance, and the sheer amount of equipment contained within can make quick cleans particularly difficult. Plus, ambulances also contain numerous delicate medical devices, which alcohol or chlorine-based disinfectants could easily damage.

But the biggest barrier to effective ambulance cleaning and decontamination is the need to keep downtime to a minimum. Ambulances are in high demand, and crews often use them in shifts. This leaves very little spare time for routine cleaning and decontamination.

How to Overcome Cleaning Challenges

So to overcome these challenges, ambulance services need to establish a cleaning procedure that is as fast and straightforward as possible. And at the same time, they must make use of cleaning products that run no risk of damaging or corroding any delicate equipment.

Ambulance Cleaning Checklist – An Example

Working to a checklist will help ambulance crews ensure they’re as thorough as possible in their limited windows for cleaning. A methodical approach will ensure that nothing gets overlooked during the cleaning and decontamination process.

Here’s an example ambulance cleaning checklist that covers all possible bases:

Door knobs and handles  
Door surface  
Patient bed  
Sitting couch  
Steering wheel  
Driver’s seat and other driving equipment  
Light switches  
Patient transfer trolley  
Other horizontal surfaces  
Walls and corners  
Cardiac monitor  
Leads (e.g. ECG)  
O2 Flowmeters  
ECG Machines  
Medicine Trolley  
Bed Sheets (Changed)  


Hand Hygiene and PPE

Cleaning the interior of the ambulance is a vital part of infection prevention and control. But between cleaning procedures, ambulance staff can adopt measures to reduce the risk of infection.

Good hand hygiene is just as important in the ambulance as it is in any other healthcare environment. Paramedics should wash their hands at five key points:

  • Before they touch a patient.
  • After they touch a patient.
  • After touching a patient’s immediate surroundings.
  • Before undertaking any clean or antiseptic procedures.
  • After any body fluid exposure risk.

Paramedics should follow a specific hand washing technique to ensure thorough cleanliness. And they should have access to effective antimicrobial hand sanitiser as close as possible to the point of care.

They should also wear the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) for the task at hand.

For more information about good practice for staff, read our full guide to standard infection control precautions.

Choosing the Correct Ambulance Cleaning Products

The choice of cleaning product can make a huge difference in ambulance cleaning turnaround time.

Virusolve®+ Wipes are an effective one-step solution. They clean, sanitise and disinfect surfaces at once, so there’s no need to prepare surfaces beforehand, or treat them afterwards.

They’re odourless, colourless, non-hazardous, non-irritant, non-flammable and non-corrosive, so they’re safe to use on even the most delicate medical equipment. They can be used on any surface, including carpets and upholstery, and as they’re hypo-allergenic there’s no risk of triggering reactions in patients.

Using absorbent mats for certain procedures in the ambulance can also help reduce downtime. Some brands of floor mat can absorb up to 8.5 litres of water or 3.5 litres of saline, whilst non-slip alternatives may still prove useful for smaller spills of fluid up to 2 litres. Then afterwards, you can simply dispose of the mat and apply a fresh one. This means you won’t have to spend so long cleaning spills on surfaces.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you ensure your ambulance cleaning process is as fast, effective and thorough as possible.