The need for elite surface hygiene is nothing new for hospital environments, but as with all areas of the NHS, the Covid-19 pandemic has put IPC teams under massive strain.
Over the past 12 months, infection control protocols have gone to a new level of intensity. All areas of the hospital interior have had to be treated as potentially high risk, resulting in heightened levels of disinfection and a vast increase in the frequency of cleaning, all of which has rendered the NHS’s usual methods of manual cleaning increasingly unsustainable.
It’s no wonder IPC directors are looking to technology to take the strain – but the cure can’t be worse than the disease.
Infection control teams everywhere are exploring new technology that aims to take the manpower out of hospital disinfection without compromising on hygiene. Systems currently attracting the most attention include UVC disinfection, which uses ultraviolet light to kill germs; and Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour (HPV).
However, uptake of these systems within the NHS has been limited so far – possibly because whilst highly effective against germs, these systems have the potential to create as many problems as they solve.
UVC light, for example, needs to actually hit a surface to disinfect it. Since light can’t travel around corners or through barriers, this means that the room being treated must be fully emptied of furniture to minimise shadows. Anything that can’t be taken out – such as fixed furniture or accessories – must be opened up to expose the insides to the UV light. The light tower itself may need to be deployed in two or three different positions within the same room in order to catch all surfaces, and any external light sources – down to cracks in the doorway – must be covered up with tape to ensure effectiveness.
Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour
HPV goes a step further. The vapour is highly toxic and therefore a space being treated must be hermetically sealed with impermeable tape, in a time-consuming process that ensures there is no leakage under doors or through air vents. Ventilation and fire sensors must be deactivated, and the room must be fully evacuated – it’s especially important to remove soft furnishings and textiles as these can act as a ‘sink’, absorbing the toxic vapour and leaching it back into the atmosphere after the treatment. Once treated, the room must then be left until HPV levels in the air have returned to a safe level – this is monitored remotely and can take up to 2 hours.
It’s not hard to understand why NHS IPC teams are unsure. These technologies are very new and carry both known and unknown risks – but even setting that aside, the length of time required to complete the preparation raises genuine questions about the benefit of these systems over manual disinfection.
Busy departments simply don’t have the time to deploy complex technologies that cause additional disruption, bringing external personnel into wards and putting patient spaces out of commission for hours at a time.
It really shouldn’t be this complicated – and with VIRONEX, it isn’t.
Our technology removes the elbow grease from manual disinfection while retaining all its simplicity and convenience. VIRONEX is a continuous spray disinfectant cleaner, supplied in a pre-pressurised canister that delivers a fine mist of a powerful disinfectant cleaner onto surfaces, with no need to wipe.
VIRONEX has no propellant and no power supply, so it’s non-flammable and safe, both in use and in storage. Our unique formulation is suitable for use on any surface, including vinyls, textiles and metal – it won’t stain, fade, dry out or corrode.
VIRONEX is easy to use; there’s no advanced training required and no extensive preparation – rooms can be treated with furniture and equipment in situ, and indeed these items can be sanitised as part of the same process. The 20-micron spray gives excellent surface coverage, works at any angle, dries quickly and falls out of suspension in seconds, so there’s no lengthy exclusion time; rooms are ready for use again in just 10 minutes.
VIRONEX boasts convenience without compromise – it’s approved to six key BS EN standards and is an effective bactericide, virucide and sporicide that kills 99.999% of pathogens in a single application, even in dirty conditions.
There’s no doubt that technology has its place but when it comes to hygiene, we believe simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. To find out more about how VIRONEX can enhance hygiene and reduce the burden on your IPC team, get in touch.