STAFF working for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have become the first in the region to obtain new formal qualifications in correctly decontaminating hospital instruments and equipment.

The sterile services team works behind the scenes at Basingstoke hospital. After a procedure like an endoscopy or colonoscopy, instruments must be properly decontaminated, ready to be used safely on the next patient.

Six members of the team have gained the latest formal qualification at the trust, which was the first centre in south-west England to run the course, developed by the Institute of Decontamination and Anglia Ruskin University.

Hampshire Hospitals decontamination manager Helen Campbell said: “We are so proud of this first group of staff who have gained their technical qualifications with some of the highest pass marks in the country.

“The added benefit of offering these qualifications is that we now have a recognised career path for our sterile services staff, to help them gain skills and develop with us, which did not previously exist.”