Odour Control Wound Dressings

Deodourising wound dressings have been used for many years, however despite their widespread use, there is little objective data on their odour handling characteristics. The European standard EN 13726-6:2003 details a test method designed to assess the resistance of primary wound dressings to penetration by odours, however there are limitations with this method as few laboratories have the necessary apparatus to perform the testing. In addition, wound dressings are assessed in their dry state, which does not simulate clinical use, and therefore raises questions on its adequacy for providing a realistic clinical evaluation.

In 1998 Thomas et al. (J Wound Care  7;5) published an in vitro test method where both odour-adsorption and fluid-handling capacity are assessed together, and thus more realistically simulates the conditions of normal clinical usage.  Over recent years the SMTL have developed this test to produce a validated method that determines the ability of wound dressings to absorb exudate and control odour in the wet state.

Please contact our Physical Testing Department if you require any further information or wish to discuss undertaking an odour control testing project.

ISO 14001 Accreditation

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) is committed to managing its environmental impact, reducing its carbon footprint and integrating the sustainable development principle into their day to day business.  Annual surveillance audits are undertaken to assess continued compliance with the ISO 14001:2015 Standard.

The ISO 14001:2015 Standard places greater emphasis on protection of the environment and is the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS). An EMS consists of the policies, processes, plans, practices and records that define the rules governing how our organisation interacts with the environment. ISO 14001 also helps organisations of all sizes across all sectors make their day to day operations more sustainable. Sustainability can ultimately save money, improve brand reputation, engage employees and build resilience against uncertainty as well as the ability to rapidly adapt to change.

In recent years SMTL's Quality Assurance department have liaised very closely with NWSSP Corporate colleagues, in order to gather evidence and improve practice with the ultimate aim of achieving accreditation to ISO 14001. Thanks to the hard work and knowledge of our colleagues in NWSSP, following the last external annual inspection the scope of the NWSSP ISO 14001:2015 certification for its key sites across Wales was expanded to include SMTL.

SMTL training laboratories in World Bank Project

The Surgical Material Testing Laboratory (SMTL) have been invited to participate in a World Bank project to expand the production of basic medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE) around the world.

In support of the World Bank International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Global Health Platform, a Global Advisory Program on PPE was launched in 2020. The program’s main objective is to support the diversification of global supply chains for PPE and to work with manufacturers and governments in developing countries to increase the manufacturing and supply of quality PPE in those countries.

One critical knowledge gap identified is a lack of laboratory testing capabilities and knowledge on technical regulations and standards for medical devices and PPE across countries.  To address this a PPE Benchmarking Technical Guide and Laboratories Capacity Building project is being implemented by the British Standards Institution (BSi) on behalf of IFC.

BSi have invited SMTL to conduct training sessions on medical device testing for a number of participating laboratories from Jordan, India and Vietnam.  In addition, SMTL have also been invited to participate in the global launch ceremony for the publication of the Technical Benchmarking Guide for COVID-19-related PPE (June 2022).  SMTL’s Technical Director Pete Phillips will be participating in a panel discussion providing insights into the challenges faced by laboratories as they relate to the global variations in PPE standards.


SMTL IP-5 Satellite Laboratory

SMTL have been based at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend for over 22 years. The facility has served SMTL well for many years, however due to unprecedented demand on testing services during the pandemic it was evident that additional capacity was required to manage the extra work whilst maintaining the UKAS accredited high level of service.

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) have supported SMTL to expand its services by purchasing new equipment and establishing a new testing laboratory at Imperial Park (IP-5) in Newport.  The new SMTL IP-5 satellite laboratory will complement the current SMTL facility at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, and will enable SMTL to test medical devices such as surgical gowns, medical masks and respirators for the Welsh NHS, UK Health Service and the medical device and PPE industry.

The SMTL IP-5 satellite laboratory is in the final stages of preparation and will be operational in Summer 2022.


BS 661210:2018 +A1 2022 Graduated compression hosiery, anti-embolism hosiery and graduated support hosiery.

BS 661210 has been re-issued with an addendum that addresses the performance requirements of compression garments following washing.

Following the publication of BS 661210 in 2018, SMTL identified an anomaly in the post-washing compression requirements.  When tested following washing, some anti-embolism compression garments could fail post-washed pressure requirements (Section 3.10), but the resulting pressures would be in compliance with pre-washing requirements (Section 3.9 Table 2).  The pre-washing pressure requirements are based on the Sigel compression profile which is widely recognised as being the optimum profile for venous return, and therefore clinically beneficial and acceptable for patients.  This was an unnecessary restriction on manufacturers and has no clinical benefit for users and patients.

The newly published BS 661210:2018 +A1 2022 resolves the anomaly where the compression profile requirements are the same regardless of testing pre or post-washing. This change is also applicable for the other types of hosiery in BS 661210 namely graduated compression and graduated support hosiery.

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