Reducing single-use plastic in endoscope cleaning


  • April 2020: PlasmaTyphoon and PlasmaBag launched in the UK
  • April 2023: AquaTyphoon launched
  • April 2023: Submitted innovation record for AquaTyphoon, PlasmaTyphoon & PlasmaBag
  • April 2023: Introduced to the Health Innovation Network, NHS Supply Chain and NICE
  • 2023: PlasmaTyphoon & PlasmaBag available via NHS Supply Chain
  • 2023: Real-World Evaluation of Plasma Typhoon funded by the Health Innovation Wessex Office for Life Sciences commission

It is estimated that over 2.5 million[i] endoscopic procedures take place across the UK every year. After use they are sent to hospital decontamination units to be cleaned ahead of recirculation.

The traditional cleaning process for endoscopes uses a high volume of water and harsh chemicals. It also relies on single-use plastic brushes to give an effective pre-clean before an automated wash cycle. With two to three brushes needed for every pre-clean, some as long as two meters, the process results in a huge amount of waste.

Large drying cabinets are used to dry and store endoscopes. These take up a lot of physical space and consume large amounts of electricity to run.

Green credentials

Pentax Medical UK acquired PlasmaBiotics, a French company responsible for developing the PlasmaTyphoon device, involved in the endoscopes drying process. The company were interested in its infection control benefits, but also in its sustainability potential and launched in the UK in April 2020.

One device can replace up to six traditional drying cabinets. The device takes between 60-90 seconds to dry each endoscope, depending on the type of endoscope used, reducing drying time with traditional cabinets by three hours.

After the drying process, the endoscope can then be placed in a PlasmaBag, a single bag made of 80% recycled materials that when sealed can maintain the scope in a decontaminated state for up to 31 days. If an endoscope is received in one of the bags, after use it will be sent to decontamination in the same bag, saving further plastic waste.

2023 also saw the launch of the AquaTyphoon device, which replaces the manual pre-clean with an automated, validated pre-cleaning process that eliminates entirely the use of disposable plastic brushes and chemical detergents.

Getting the right support

The company found out about the NHS Innovation Service through Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), which encouraged them to submit an innovation record to receive expert support. Since submission, they have been introduced to the Health Innovation Network, NHS Supply Chain and NICE.

The company has received support from several Health Innovation Networks, particularly with regard to supporting the NHS’s net zero requirements. Real-World Evaluation (RWE) of Plasma Typhoon has been funded by the Health Innovation Wessex Office for Life Sciences commission.

Emily Hunter, Senior Programme Manager Insight, Health Innovation Wessex said: “Health Innovation Wessex Insight team has been working with Pentax Medical since July 2023 when they were awarded a RWE, funded by our Office for Life Sciences commission. We have worked closely with them and the endoscopy decontamination unit at Southampton General Hospital, managed by IHSS Ltd, to co-design an RWE that will seek to understand the effects of PlasmaTyphoon on workflow, energy consumption, and endoscopy service outcomes. Insight’s findings will inform the company on the real-world use of PlasmaTyphoon, identifying previously unknown challenges when deployed within a complex and evolving decontamination unit, support improved market access and the wider adoption of PlasmaTyphoon. Insight’s findings will be reported in Spring 2024.”

In 2023, the PlasmaTyphoon & PlasmaBag became available via NHS Supply Chain.

The company currently have over 50 devices installed across the UK & Ireland.

The company has confirmed it has other innovations to launch and will be using the NHS Innovation Service portal to submit further innovation records to receive expert support.

Key takeaways

  • Sustainability focused innovations that support NHS priorities can have huge potential to save money.
  • Evaluation expertise is valuable in supporting innovators to reduce barriers, providing insights to support adoption and spread.
  • The Health Innovation Network can support you to meet the new NHS England Net Zero requirements for suppliers.
  • The NHS Innovation Service can help reduce duplication and form-filling when seeking support.