SMTL Blog

Following 40 years of exceptional and dedicated service, Pete Phillips has decided to step back from full time working and start enjoying even more holidays, playing his ever growing synthesiser collection and reducing his personal best swimming times.

Pete graduated as a Pharmacist in 1981 from the University of London. Following various locum placements, the pull of a return to Wales became too much for Pete who started working with Dr Steve Thomas in 1983 at the Mid Glamorgan Quality Control Laboratory (the predecessor of SMTL).

Pete diversified into the medical device field where he has excelled throughout his career, becoming an expert in gloves and latex allergy and various medical devices evidenced by participation in numerous CEN and British Standard committees, and representing the Welsh Government on a number of committees.

His technical excellence and innovative leadership has developed SMTL into a leading authority in medical device testing and technical assurance, and we are hugely grateful for his outstanding contributions to our industry.

Fortunately, SMTL and Welsh NHS will retain Pete's decades of expertise when he returns to SMTL in April 2022 as a part-time Technical Director.

Uro-tainer polihexanide for patients with encrusted long-term urinary catheters  - new advice from EBPB (Feb 2022)

The EBPB have issued advice and an evidence review for the use of Uro-tainer polihexanide (UT-P) for patients with encrusted long-term urinary catheters. 

The EBPB considers there is currently insufficient evidence to support its  use in the Welsh NHS.  In addition, the EBPB noted the concerning adverse event rates when using Uro-tainer polihexanide.

The full statement and evidence review are available on the EBPB pages.

SMTL undertook a laboratory and manikin-based human factors/usability investigation to identify introducers that could be suitable for clinical investigation. We included six different introducers in laboratory-based assessments (design characteristics) and manikin-based assessments involving the participation of 30 anaesthetists.

Each anaesthetist attempted placement in the manikin’s trachea with each of the six introducers in a random order. Outcomes included first-time insertion success rate; insertion success rate; number of attempts; time to placement; and distance placed. Each anaesthetist also completed a questionnaire. 

The results of the study has now been published in a paper ("An assessment of introducers used for airway management") in Anaesthesia in Dec 2021, coauthored by 4 SMTL staff (Laura Price, Matt Alderman, Gavin Hughes and Pete Phillips).

The paper concluded that the study protocol is suitable for differentiating between different introducers and could be used as a basis for assessing other types of devices.

SMTL has had a number of staff changes since the Summer of 2021.  

In the SMTL Office, Jade and Elaine have now taken over joint management of the office as a job share, and Emma Willett joined the office team in August.

In the Summer we said goodbye to Jotika Ramnik Halai who secured a job in London with Public Health England. We wish Jotika the very best in her new role. 

The Physical Testing department recruited two new members of staff before Christmas - Rhiannon Fulker and Heath Davies. Rhiannon previously worked at L’Oreal and Fillcare and Heath came to SMTL from Swansea Bay University Health Board Mass Vaccination Center.

Quality Assurance has a new environmental monitoring technician, Katie Wilkes. Katie previously worked at the University Hospital of Wales in the Virology department, and now spends a few days each week at various hospitals around Wales testing the environmental conditions in CSSDs and HSDUs. 

Biological Testing has also recruited two new members of staff - Imogen Davies and Tess Leggiero, bringing the department back up to its full complement. Coincidentally, Tess used to work with Katie in University Hospital of Wales, although like many scientists during the pandemic, in recent months she was based in one of the Covid testing labs.  Imogen has joined us from one of Bridgend’s better known Cafes - Thunder Road cafe in Tremains Road. 

The Research and Development department has also had two new staff members - Kambiz Ashar and Tomos Rodrigues. Kambiz joined SMTL after working at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, and Tomos joined SMTL after completing a Masters of Biochemistry at Oxford University. The R&D team are currently working on multiple projects related to PPE procurement for both NHS Wales and for NHS England, as well as providing support for the Evidence Based Procurement Board.

Finally, Lisa Tully left  us this month. Lisa has been working on our residual protein detection project for the last 2 years, as well as helping out in the Biological testing laboratory during the pandemic. Lisa has a new job in North Wales, and we wish her the best of luck, not only in her new job but also with her climbing endeavours, for which she has chosen the perfect location.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the new faces at SMTL.

Louise Barry recently presented at the Agored Cymru Level 4 accredited education day “Compression Garments in the management of lymphoedema and chronic oedema".

This course was delivered by Lymphoedema Network Wales with support from expert external speakers as well as  patients sharing their experiences of compression garments.  Louise was invited to present on the work SMTL have undertaken in conjunction with Welsh NHS lymphoedema clinicians to independently assess compression garment supplied by manufacturers for NWSSP Procurement Services contracts. 

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