Storage

HTM 01-05 2013 Edition has introduced an additional storage option which allows dental practices to store un-pouched instruments in an unused clinical area.

Storage

Instruments that are pouched before sterilisation, or immediately after sterilisation may be stored for the periods defined in HTM 01-05.

HTM 01-05 2013 Edition defines the storage time of a pouched instrument(s) to be 1 year providing the pouch is not compromised (damaged in any way).

It is expected that the pouch should be dated when closed. Best practice would be to put both the sterilisation date and the expiry date for ease of reference. Should only one date be used it is widely recognised by industry advisers and auditors such as the CQC that it is the expiry date that is written on the pouch.

Where unwrapped instruments are to be used in the same day as they are sterilised, they should be stored covered to protect from contamination by aerosols in clean and dry conditions until used. Instruments stored in this way must be reprocessed if they are not used within that same day.

HTM 01-05 2013 Edition has introduced an additional storage option which allows dental practices to store un-pouched instruments in an unused clinical area. This can be either an unused surgery or the clean side of a decontamination room. Instruments that are stored in this area can be kept for 1 week without the need to be reprocessed.

To minimise reprocessing, only set out the instruments that are reasonably expected to be used on a particular treatment. All instruments set out for a treatment must be reprocessed even if they have not been used.

Storage facilities must ensure that the instrument packs are protected from contamination and protected from moisture.

Damp packaging will render the pack permeable to microorganisms.

Storage facilities should provide ease of finding the correct instrument with minimal handling and have an effective stock rotation – First In First Out. 

As part of practice procedures, protocols should be put in place to check the expiry dates of instruments.

Instruments stored un-pouched in the surgery should be kept on lidded trays or in covered drawers as far away from the dental chair as reasonably practicable.