News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


National Protocols and Quality Assurance Systems

30 May 2000

National Protocols and Quality Assurance Systems Proposed

THE Ministry of Health and the Health Funding Authority will be working with hospitals on developing national protocols and quality assurance systems for cleaning and reprocessing endoscopes, following incidents in Rotorua and Christchurch.

The move comes two weeks after the Ministry of Health sought confirmation from public and private hospitals that adequate procedures were in place to clean, disinfect and sterilise endoscopes before reuse. The letters were sent after Lakeland Health in Rotorua reported a repeated sterilisation failure of one colonoscope. Canterbury Health had similar problems in July last year.

A colonoscope is a type of endoscope which is inserted into the lower bowel for internal investigations. Only some hospitals perform this procedure.

Chief Advisor Safety and Regulation, Dr Bob Boyd said that the Ministry had received assurances from hospitals that endoscopes are being routinely microbiological tested as a check on the disinfection process.

The Ministry advised hospitals that unless there was a process of systematically testing endoscopes for microbiological contamination, they should not be used.

"The only exception to this is an urgent clinical situation and if that occurs, the patient must be informed that the equipment may not be sterile."

Dr Boyd said this issue had raised questions about the need for a consistent approach for processing and monitoring these instruments.

"Agreed national protocols and quality assurance systems would reduce the risk to patients from potential infection through contaminated equipment. They would also ensure that hospitals meet the new infection control standards, which are close to being finalised."

"Recently developed Australian guidelines, "Infection Control in Endoscopy" and "Standards for Endoscopic Facilities and Services" could be adapted to meet the New Zealand situation."

Dr Boyd said despite extensive investigations the cause of the fault at Lakeland Health is still unclear.

"I accompanied representatives of the STERIS Corporation, which makes the endoscope sterilising equipment used at Rotorua, on a visit to the hospital and observed the sterilisation system in use. The Ministry of Health is satisfied that Rotorua Hospital has the necessary equipment, and its staff have the requisite knowledge and skills to safely reprocess and monitor its endoscopes."

"Contrary to certain media reports, the Ministry has not advised hospitals to discontinue using the STERIS System 1 and related accessories. However, it has asked hospital to ensure staff fully understand and follow all cleaning instructions provided by both the endoscope manufacturer and STERIS Corporation."

Dr Boyd said the Ministry of Health and Health Funding Authority appreciated that STERIS has volunteered to visit all sites where the STERIS System 1 processor is used to ensure hospitals understand, and are following the instructions for use.


For more information contact: Selina Gentry, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2483 or 025-277-5411 Internet address:

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>


Doing Our Bit: An Insider's Account Of New Zealand Political Campaigning

In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. More>>

Te Papa: Two Reviews Into Care For Collections

Te Papa will take additional time to consider the best way to deliver its collections care function, including undertaking an independent review into the care of its natural history collections. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland