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Sterile services staff

Sterile services departments (SSDs) are sometimes known as decontamination units and their role is to reprocess re-useable medical devices. These devices come from different areas of healthcare, including operating theatres, clinics, accident and emergency departments and wards.

Many of these devices are technically advanced and support staff working in these areas are responsible for the reprocessing tasks which need to be undertaken. These tasks include dismantling decontaminated devices, reassembling them and examining them under a microscope or magnifier before they can be sterilised.

Once the equipment has been sterilised, it has to repackaged and appropriately labelled before it is used. Very strict procedures have to be followed to minimise the chances of infection and to ensure that an audit trail exists.

Entry requirements and training

Applicants usually need GCSE, or equivalent, including maths, English and a science subject. Good communication skills and teamwork are also important.

Support staff/assistants working in sterile services, train during employment and can work towards qualifications awarded by the Institute of Decontamination Sciences.

There are opportunities with further training, to progress to management positions.

Job vacancies

Vacancies for staff to work in sterile services departments and decontamination units, will appear in a range of sources, including the NHS Jobs website, local papers and through Jobcentre Plus.

Further information

For further information, please contact the Institute of Decontamination Sciences