Nottingham hospital tackles superbugs with SmartUVC

Tru-D device delivers a measured dose of UVC germicidal light to kill room-surface pathogens

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has tested the SmartUVC device

A germ-killing robot is proving to be an efficient method of tackling superbugs in a UK hospital.

The remote-controlled Tru-D SmartUVC device developed by Tru-D, a US manufacturer of decontamination equipment, based in Memphis, Tennessee, uses a measured dose of UVC germicidal light to kill 99.9% of room-surface pathogens in a fraction of the time now required for cleaning.

According to hospital administrators, vaporised hydrogen peroxide (VHP) is currently used to sterilise wards, with deep-clean taking six hours followed by a wait of up to 24 hours before the room can be used. The VHP method poses significant health risks if not carried out carefully.

Hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA and C.diff cost the NHS about $1.6bn a year. Tru-D SmartUVC, already in daily use at more than 100 hospitals in the US, has been tested by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which is hoping to adopt the method permanently. Nottingham University Hospitals' record of reducing healthcare-associated infections rates among the best in the UK.

“Judging by the results that I have witnessed, it is clear that new and more sustainable alternatives such as Tru-D represent the future of hygiene in hospitals,” said Dr Tim Boswell , consultant microbiologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Tru-D SmartUVC generates a specific dose of ultraviolet-C (UVC) energy to eliminate surface contamination. The system has been engineered to disinfect shadowed and line-of-sight surfaces from a single placement within a room, overcoming human error such as missed and difficult-to-reach surfaces, improper chemical applications, incorrect placement, and unreliable ‘blind-dose guessing’ associated with lesser advanced and disruptive strobe light offerings.

“Tru-D's advanced, environmentally friendly germicidal disinfection system has moved disinfection of rooms and equipment to a much higher level than can be achieved through manual, chemical cleaning alone,” said Tru-D spokesman Chuck Dunn.

Tru-D was presented at the annual conference of the Federation of Infection Societies in Liverpool in December. Six other NHS hospitals have since begun testing the device.

A report published in October 2012 by the Patients' Association in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing and the Infection Prevention Society called for a renewed focus on infection prevention and control across the NHS.