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Single use washbowls save time and lower infection risk


Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust has introduced single-use pulp washbowls to improve infection prevention and environmental performance.

The trust has disposed of plastic washbowls across its two hospitals and introduced Vernacare’s biodegradable washbowl that is made from recycled paper and can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way after use through cold water maceration.

Heather Dakin, Senior Nurse Infection Control, said: “We trialled the single-use washbowls on our stroke and isolation units, and in our emergency assessment unit and the feedback was excellent. Nursing staff found that they had more time for patient care and didn’t have to worry about decontaminating plastic bowls.

“We concluded that the new washbowls represented excellent value for money, especially when you factor in nurse time spent chemically disinfecting and drying plastic bowls, and the cost of detergents, hot water and clinical waste to dispose of used plastic, combined with the risk and cost of infection that plastic presents.”

Free samples

For free samples of the Vernacare wash bowl, or further information contact the customer care team on 01204 555999, or email


Readers' comments (4)

  • we have been using these bowls in the trust where i work for some time now and i agree they are quick and easy to dispose of and less of an infection control issue. the only down side i would say is that they are no good for soaking patients feet in as they are not big enough and also they are not sturdy enough when you wash a patients hair in bed.

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  • Steve Williams


    How is this news? We were using recycled paper macerateable urinals and bedpans in some NHS hospitals thirty years ago. Eminently sensible infection-prevention stuff.

    I'm not sure why the NT considers the addition of "single-use pulp washbowls" to the product inventory as significantly newsworthy... a slow day for press-releases in the NT office perhaps?

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  • I thought the NHS was developing to be more resourceful and less wasteful?I suppose it is a good idea in theory but in practice what we really need as nurses is more time and more bodies on the ward floor to cleanse wash bowls properly not introduce paper bowls that could potentially become a health hazard if squashed/too wet? What next? Paper cups and plates, throw away cutlery that the poor patients cannot get to grips with properly!

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  • i am looking for a way to reduce the risk of x. infection when washing legs in the home setting?
    iv suggested a liner on the bowl and guidelines why we wash legs and when.

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