Ask questions, do your surgical instruments meet British Quality Standards?
As one of the few UK manufacturers, Platts & Nisbett has always put quality at the forefront of everything we do. We are hopeful that the recent feature on the BBC will help to raise awareness, and highlight problems at procurement level within some NHS Trusts. We strongly believe that all manufacturers and suppliers of this type of equipment should be subject to quality checks – not just of paperwork but of the instruments themselves. Without mandatory inspections how can patient safety be properly protected?
If you are responsible for the purchase of surgical instruments, you should already have the relevant paperwork from a company, such as ISO certificates, but please don’t be afraid to ask questions of the company you are buying from. Any reputable company should be able to answer questions such as the following: -
- Where are the instruments made?
- Where is raw material sourced from? Ask to see copies of material certificates upon receipt of the instruments to validate this.
- To prevent corrosion, what methods are used to passivate instruments?
- How do you ensure there are no burrs?
- What type of finishes are available, to ensure smooth edges?
- How is traceability maintained?
- What marking is on the instrument? There should be a Company Name and CE Mark at the very least. A Part Number and Lot Number are highly recommended in addition to this. Instruments which are only etched with Stainless CE should not be accepted.
- Can you supply instructions for reprocessing?
- Is training available to demonstrate how instruments are used, cleaned and maintained?
- Ask to see sample instruments to evaluate quality before placing your order.
These are just a few basic questions, but if you would like to find out more you could ask if they offer a factory tour. This way you can see how the instruments are made, and find out more about what you are actually getting for your money. If companies are doing what they say, there should be no problem with you paying them a visit.
A short film showing the manufacture of our instruments in Sheffield is available to view at www.plattsnisbett.com.