Areas of Interest
Science and Technology, Health Care
Honorary Doctor of Science, 2015
Geoff Sjogren is the Decontamination Lead for Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the Immediate Past National Chairman of the Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc), which promotes the sharing of medical device decontamination sciences best-practice across both the public and private healthcare sectors.
In 1989, Geoff became Sterile Services Manager at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester. After becoming a Member of the IDSc he was quickly promoted to the position of Decontamination Lead. When St Richard’s merged with Worthing and Southlands Hospital in 2009, Geoff was appointed cross-site Decontamination Lead and Head of Service for Diagnostic Screening Policy and Medical Devices Management.
When studying for his MSc in Medical Device Decontamination, Geoff explored the NHS’s apparent failure to properly implement guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence concerning ‘Patient safety and reduction of risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease’ – CJD. Another focus of his research was the policy and procedure around the decontamination of surgical instruments. Geoff’s research recognised the need to significantly improve practice for decontamination of medical devices throughout all healthcare organisations, and his findings were to provide the foundation for the next phase of his career, after he was elected Chair of the IDSc in 2011.
The IDSc was founded in 2004 and was previously known as the Association of Sterile Supplies Managers, which was formed in 1967. It is an umbrella organisation for all decontamination and allied professions concerned with managing the risks associated with healthcare acquired infections. In his role as Chair, Geoff led the way in establishing UK-wide education and qualification frameworks for the sector.
Geoff’s pioneering work led to our Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education agreeing a partnership with the IDSc to develop the first university-accredited practice-based foundation degree for decontamination sciences. This partnership opened the door to further recognition of decontamination professionals when, in 2013, Geoff managed a process to align all decontamination personnel onto the Healthcare Science National Profiles. This, in turn, led the way to the creation of structured job descriptions, formally professionalising the role of decontamination staff as Healthcare Scientists within such diverse areas as sterile services, endoscopy, theatres and dentistry.
As a founding member and Immediate Past Chair of the Professional Expert Communications Forum: Medical Device Decontamination, Geoff continues to champion the critically important work of decontamination professionals. As a result, government agencies are increasingly recognising the importance of employing qualified staff to better manage the risk of CJD and other transmissions through surgical interventions.
Over the past 25 years, Geoff has played a major role in changing perspectives of decontamination science and has driven major improvements in patient safety. Through his personal determination, he has facilitated the introduction of a robust education programme and encouraged wider recognition of formal qualifications in medical device decontamination.