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Job Photographs

  • Someone, wearing latex gloves, is putting operating theatre utensils into a box.

    Preparing items of equipment for cleaning.

  • A man, wearing a protective gown and face mask, is pushing three metal trays into a cleaning machine.

    Loading the washer.

  • A man is looking at a piece of medical equipment.

    Inspecting washed equipment.

  • A man is studying a long roll of paper, which has emerged from a machine on a wall.

    Checking a read-out on the steriliser to make sure it is working properly.

  • A man is unloading blankets from three trays, which have come out of a large, yellow machine.

    Unloading the steriliser.

  • A man is standing next to a row of metal shelves.  The shelves are full of towels, blankets and bedding, all wrapped in polythene.

    Putting equipment into the storeroom ready for use.

  • Someone is using a hand-held scanning device, to scan some text from a piece of paper into a computer.

    Scanning a list of used surgical equipment into a computer. This list will be tracked and updated throughout the cleaning and sterilisation process.

  • Sterile Services Technician

Sterile Services Technician

Introduction

Sterile services technicians make sure that reusable medical devices (including surgical instruments) are sterile. They are involved in the whole process, from receiving the used items to providing sterile equipment ready for use. They keep accurate records of each stage of the process.

Also known as

  • Decontamination Service Technician

Work Activities

As a Sterile Services Technician, you will make sure that re-usable medical devices are sterile.

First, you receive the used equipment. You must handle the equipment carefully because it might be delicate and expensive. You also need to protect yourself and other staff from any contamination.

Technicians make sure that the equipment being received is complete. If an item is missing, you report it to your Supervisor. Each item or set of devices is coded, so they can be traced throughout the reprocessing system.

Before cleaning, you have to dismantle each item. You put the devices into an automated mechanical washer-disinfector. This cleans, disinfects and dries the equipment.

After the items have been cleaned and disinfected, they are transferred into the production area where you inspect them to make sure that they are clean, dry and can work properly for their intended use. You also inspect and re-assemble the items where necessary, before packing, sealing and labelling them ready for sterilisation.

The packages are then passed to the sterilising area, where you load them into the steriliser.

After sterilisation, you allow the items to cool. Once cooled, you put the equipment in its correct place in the processed goods store until it is needed for distribution and further use.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Sterile Services Technician, you'll need:

  • attention to detail and a careful approach to your work
  • to follow procedures correctly at each stage of the process
  • the ability to do some of your work without supervision
  • teamwork skills
  • the ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure, so equipment is ready to be used when it is needed
  • physical fitness; the job involves pushing trolleys and some lifting
  • record-keeping skills

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting - Band 2: £17,652 - £19,020
  • With experience - Band 3: £18,813 - £20,795
  • Senior Sterile Services Technicians - Band 4: £21,089 - £23,761

Hours of work

Sterile Services Technicians usually work 36.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday, which may include early starts, shift work and call-outs.

Where could I work?

Employers include NHS and private hospitals, and the armed forces. Opportunities for Sterile Services Technicians occur in hospitals throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on the website of the Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc), the NHS Jobs website and on job boards, as well as in local newspapers, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You can apply for vacancies and then have on-the-job training.

Training

Technicians work towards a technical certificate, which is approved by the Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc) and accredited by an academic or other approved training body.

In this role you may be required to complete a care certificate before starting work. Take a look at our information article care certificate for more information.

Progression

Further training can include supervisory certificates, management diplomas and postgraduate qualifications.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in a caring environment such as working in a care home or in a hospital would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

To become a Sterile Services Technician, you'll usually need GCSEs, including English, maths and a science, or equivalent qualifications.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Statistics

  • 7% of people who work in occupations such as sterile services technician work part-time.
  • 16% have flexible hours.

Further Information

NHS Wales Careers

Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare

Email: abm.wedsteam@wales.nhs.uk

Website: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/829/page/36090

NHS Jobs

Website: www.jobs.nhs.uk

Step into the NHS

NHS careers

Tel: 0345 6060655

Website: www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk

Skills for Health

Skills for the health sector

Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP

Tel: 0117 9221155

Email: office@skillsforhealth.org.uk

Website: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc)

Address: c/o Fitwise Management Ltd, Blackburn House, Redhouse Road, Seafield, Bathgate EH47 7AQ

Tel: 01506 811077

Email: idsc@fitwise.co.uk

Website: www.idsc-uk.co.uk

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