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7 September 2018

UV lights to transform disinfection in Cystic Fibrosis unit

Royal Papworth Hospital aims to go “above and beyond” infection control standards in the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) unit after it takes delivery of three new UV disinfection machines later this year.

The mobile machines, which stand more than 2 meters high, each feature eight bacteria-killing bulbs that can clean a room in 30 minutes.

Currently the most effective method of disinfection used at the hospital, hydrogen peroxide vapour, takes three to four hours. Consultant Microbiologist Dr Olly Allen said the machines would mainly be used to disinfect rooms in the hospital’s CF unit – after nurses have first cleaned them with Tristel wipes - where patients are at risk from bacteria crosscontamination.

He said: “CF patients’ lungs are not very good at clearing bacteria colonies, even after antibiotics. As soon as they pick up bacteria their condition and their quality of life deteriorates rapidly.

“UV is a hugely effective method of disinfection and we want to use UV after every CF patient leaves a room. No other hospital does this; it’s above and beyond infection control, but it will help keep our CF unit a centre of excellence.”

Dr Allen said the machines – which cost £36k each and will largely be paid for by the Papworth Hospital Charity – could also be used in other areas of the hospital to help eradicate infection outbreaks.

Roy Clarke, Chief Finance Officer at Royal Papworth Hospital, said: “Royal Papworth Hospital Charity is very proud to support the purchase of this state-ofthe-art infection control equipment. This has been made possible by a dedicated group of patients and supporters who have gone the extra mile to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Fund; allowing Royal Papworth Hospital to provide the very best care for patients.”

A trial study of the machines’ effectiveness was carried out by Dr Allen and his team in March, when a hospital room recently vacated by a CF patient with a known bacteria colonisation was tested with contact plates.

“The results were very impressive, much better than we expected,” said Dr Allen. “The UV light reduced the number of colonies to almost zero.”