Decontamination services management
As a manager of decontamination services, you’ll have overall responsibility for ensuring that reusable medical devices are decontaminated and reprocessed to the required standards and that all your staff are properly trained.
You’ll be responsible for planning and managing staff, budgets and other resources within the decontamination/sterile services department.
Decontamination services are responsible for ensuring that reusable medical devices, such as endoscopes and other surgical devices eg instruments are cleaned, disinfected, sterilised and repackaged to high standards, ready for reusing in operating theatres and other areas of health care.
Roles in decontamination services management
Roles here include:
As the most senior manager within this area of healthcare science, you’ll typically:
- be overall responsible for managing the decontamination of medical device service, liaising with other agencies as appropriate
- lead the evaluation of new equipment and methods of working
- oversee the provision of a 24hr, 7 days a week, specialised, service contributing to the safe clinical care of the patient
- manage staff working within the decontamination specialities including interviewing, recruitment, appraisal, continuing professional development (CPD) and performance
- apply professional judgement and utilise specialist skills and detailed scientific knowledge to provide a high quality and timely service
- manage the whole budget for the organisation wide decontamination service
- plan and organise the broad range of activities, processes and procedures conducted by the speciality including future plans and strategies in conjunction with the appropriate colleagues
- work independently in all areas of the service and be able to work as an autonomous practitioner
- work unsupervised and manage workload with minimal managerial direction.
Within your decontamination service, you will have a range of staff including managers working at supervisory and deputy management levels and decontamination technicians.
Working at a senior supervisory or deputy managerial role, you may be given responsibility for some or all of the following tasks:
- quality assurance of the service in compliance with the Medical Device Regulations
- day to day operational management of the service
- ensuring policies and procedures are updated and implemented
- staff training
- attending specialist meetings
- deputising for the senior manager
- recording, interpreting, validating and authorising equipment test results
- supervising decontamination technicians and apprentice decontamination technicians.
Want to learn more?
- Find out about the entry requirements, skills and interests required to work in decontamination services management
- Find out about the training you'll receive for a career as a decontamination services management
Pay and conditions
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Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. Staff in the NHS will usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week. They may work a shift pattern. As a supervisor in decontamination sciences, you would typically start on AfC band 3, with opportunities to progress with appropriate training, qualifications and experience into managerial positions up to band AfC Band 8
Terms and conditions of service can vary for employers outside the NHS.
Where the role can lead
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With further training and/or experience, you may be able to develop your career further and apply for vacancies in areas such as further specialisation, management, research, or teaching.
Job market and vacancies
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Job market information
There are over 200 hundred sterile services departments in England (an average sterile services department will employ 30 staff), with the majority working within the NHS and some working within the private sector. There are also 480+ dental practices undertaking the decontamination of re-usable medical devices and staff undertaking the decontamination of dental medical devices will require the same level of education as both sterile services and endoscopy decontamination staff.
Endoscopy decontamination departments may now employ decontamination technicians in what was previously seen as a nursing role to decontaminate flexible endoscopes and request the on-site decontamination managers to run the decontamination aspect of their service, and there are some instances whereby a separate decontamination facility for flexible endoscopes have been developed under the managerial role of the decontamination manager.
There are 215 endoscopy units in secondary care, 36 known community endoscopy units and 97 endoscopy units in the independent sector
Finding and applying for jobs
When you’re looking for vacancies, there are a number of sources you can use, depending on the type of work you’re seeking.
Check vacancies carefully to be sure you can meet the requirements of the person specification before applying and to find out what the application process is. You may need to apply online or send a C.V. for example.
Key sources relevant to vacancies in the health sector:
- vacancies in organisations delivering NHS healthcare can be found on the NHS Jobs website
- opportunities in the Civil Service can be found on the Civil Service Jobs website
- vacancies in local government can be found on the Local Government Jobs website and the Jobs Go Public website
As well as these sources, you may find suitable vacancies in the health sector by contacting local employers directly, searching in local newspapers and by using the Universal Jobmatch tool.
Volunteering is an excellent way of gaining experience (especially if you don’t have enough for a specific paid job you’re interested in) and also seeing whether you’re suited to a particular type of work. It’s also a great way to boost your confidence and you can give something back to the community!
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For further information about a career in decontamination science management, please contact: