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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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