Why does Thames Medical use a Decontamination Procedure?

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Decontamination is something that we have all become very familiar with over the last year –and asepsis and PPE are now buzz words throughout the general population, even the man on the Clapham omnibus has to wear a mask today!

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Decontamination and Safety

When our clients return goods for repairs, servicing, or part exchanges, we will ask them to send us a decontamination form. We put this in place in 1993 – and has been a core part of our process since we started business. We are still asked why clients are tasked with this. Here’s why:

During the early ’90s when we were just getting started as a company, we were regularly riding as the ‘3rd man’ in ambulances. We delivered training to paramedics in the field, during a time in which HIV was on the rise. This phenomenon changed the way that medical professionals operated due to a lack of knowledge on how the virus was spread. As the HIV situation developed, we learned more about virus transmission and have continually improved our awareness and procedures around the principles of clean, sterile environments and kit to reduce cross-contamination and potential infection. 

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British ambulance responding to an emergency in hazardous bad weather driving conditions on a UK motorway

Human vs Veterinary Medicine

Obviously, the veterinary industry is not immune to the spread of infectious disease. This is something veterinary professionals take very seriously. But how can we be certain that what they’re sending us is actually clean?

We want to take care of our staff, but there was also a larger implication – if contaminated equipment is left with us, it potentially could contaminate equipment sent in from other practices too. That would put other clients at risk, and as a medical equipment supplier is something that we absolutely cannot tolerate. This is where the simple decontamination form comes in. It certify to us that what is sent to us is clean to the best of our client’s ability.

During the late 90’s we had trouble getting clients to adopt this policy. Many could not see a reason that we were enforcing stricter rules than the majority of our competitors (including those that were much larger and more corporate than us). Despite this, we have made sure to stick with it.

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Proof we need Decon procedures

In 2001, the veterinary world was rocked by another disaster – the foot and mouth outbreak. There are many of us who remember the devastation this wreaked. It’s precisely events like this that have proved to us time and time again that decontamination procedures are more than just important. They’re a vital and necessary part of running a business in the medical industry.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has further illustrated this point to us. This is why we have held on to our decontamination procedures, despite clients sometimes feeling frustrated over the additional paperwork and despite being told at times that it is overkill. That’s why we’ll always have these procedures in place – to protect our team, to protect our clients, and to make sure that we’re always doing the most that we can to prevent or slow the spread of any infectious disease.

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