A department head at Harrogate District Hospital has said goodbye to colleagues after two decades and having just secured a nearly £4millon investment for the service.
Head of Medical Devices and Sterile Services, Melanie Davies bid farewell to Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust on December 5.
But almost five years ago Melanie secured £3,750,000 of funding to extend the department, which was officially re-opened at a ceremony on Monday.
Cutting the ribbon to the newly improved department was former governor of the Trust and former lead of sterile services, Pat Hewitson, who was instrumental in initiating the regulations that govern the service today.
Melanie said: “I came as a trainee technician just after Pat left in 1998 - I started in September 1998 so everybody was talking about Pat then.
“It was just my cup of tea from day one, and it was funny because I remember thinking at the time I’ll be running that department soon.”
The department disinfects, inspects and sterilises some 45,000 surgical instruments and other medical devices on a monthly basis.
But back in 2011, Melanie wrote and submitted a business case to the Trust board to have the department extended to bring the sterilisation of flexible endoscopes under the same roof as all other sterilised equipment.
By 2013 case was approved and work on the department started in March this year with the team moving back in in September.
Melanie said: “This team have been through so much, we had to work off site in West Yorkshire for a eight weeks and still provide the same quality service.”
“Since September we have been working really hard to integrate the quality of the flexible endoscope decontamination into our existing system so we could demonstrate compliance with medical device directive.”
But on Friday, December 1, the hard work had paid off and the team was given the official accreditation to cover flexible endoscopes in their remit.
Melanie said: "After five days of really intense auditing the sterile services team were given scope of registration to include the flexible endoscopes as well as surgical instruments."
But now, after everything she has helped the department achieve, Melanie is leaving the Trust to become a Constant Improvement Manager in private sector sterile services departments all over the world.
She said: "I’m really excited, I never ever envisaged myself leaving here but when your dream job lands on your lap then you have to take it. It was a really hard decision to make because I’ve worked in the Trust a long time.
"But we’ve got the improvements, we’ve got the accreditation so it has come at the right time."