Packaging

Packaging must be specifically approved for use in small vacuum sterilisers by the manufacturer, and conform to BS EN ISO 11607 - Packaging for Terminally Sterilized Medical Devices.

Packaging

The correct packaging of instruments is dependent on what type of sterilisation cycle is used to process them and how long the instruments need to be stored for.

Instruments Processed in a Non-Vacuum Steriliser or Non-Vacuum Cycle

When instruments are to be sterilised in a Type N (non-vacuum) steriliser, or a non-vacuum cycle is to be used on a Type B or Type S (vacuum) steriliser, they may be packed immediately after removal from the steriliser.

Instruments should never be packed before processing in a non-vacuum cycle.

Instruments must be completely dry before packaging and should be dried if necessary using non linting cloths.

Instruments processed in a non-vacuum cycle can then be stored for:

  • Dry and Unwrapped: Stored in a surgery for a maximum of 1 day.
  • Dry and Unwrapped: Stored in a non-clinical area for a maximum of 1 week.
  • Dry and Wrapped: Stored for a maximum of 1 year.

Instruments Processed in a Vacuum Steriliser

When instruments are to be sterilised using a vacuum cycle on a Type B or Type S steriliser, they may be packed either singly or as sets prior to processing.

Packaging must be specifically approved for use in small vacuum sterilisers by the manufacturer and conform to BS EN ISO 11607 - Packaging for Terminally Sterilized Medical Devices.

HTM 01-05 currently permits any pouched instruments, providing the pouch is not damaged in anyway, can be kept for a maximum of 1 year before further sterilisation is required.

Instruments Used Immediately After Processing in a Steriliser

When instruments are intended for use on the same day that they are removed from the steriliser, there is no requirement to pack them. However, Isopharm would advise that packaging instruments continuously enhances a patient's perception that decontamination procedures are being adhered to. 

Any instruments unused at the end of the day must be fully re-processed, they may not be packaged for storage.