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Scottish Health Technical Memorandum (SHTM) 01-05 Management, equipment, and process of the decontamination of dental instruments in a Local Decontamination Unit (LDU) in NHSScotland is national, best practice guidance published by Health Facilities Scotland in April 2024. 

SHTM 01-05 is the main references for decontamination guidance and comprises three parts:

·         Part A - Management 

·         Part B - Decontamination equipment / test methods

·        Part C  - Process


Part C provides practical guidance on the whole instrument decontamination process, presented in a form designed to be readily understandable by members of the dental team. Reference to parts A or B may be necessary for more detailed technical guidance.  

SHTM 01-05 guidance replaces relevant parts of SHTM 2010 relating to small steam sterilizers, SHTM 2030 for washer disinfectors (WD), other previous NHSScotland dental decontamination guidance and the SDCEP Decontamination into Practice guidance, which has been withdrawn.

Advice and templates to support the management of decontamination in dental practice in accordance with SHTM 01-05 are provided in Health and Safety General – Managing Decontamination in a Dental Practice (MDDP).  The PSM templates referred to in the MDDP Checklist have been amended to reflect the below changes.


Key messages and changes in Part C include:

·       Use of a washer disinfector is a requirement for compliant reprocessing of dental instruments in an LDU. An ultrasonic cleaner, while useful as an additional cleaning aid, may only be used as a back-up in the event of washer disinfector failure

·       For washer disinfectors, potable water that meets manufacturer’s requirements is adequate (otherwise filtration is required). Sterile water for irrigation is preferred for use in sterilizers   

·       Dental handpiece decontamination and lubrication should follow manufacturer’s instructions  

·       Equipment testing schedules should follow Manufacturer’s Instructions, or if unavailable, the schedules recommended in Part C  

·       Sterilizer Automatic Control Tests are required to be carried out weekly (no longer daily)  

·       Equipment records are to be retained for the lifetime of the equipment plus 25 years.

·       Policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated periodically with revisions noted 

·         New titles of personal involved in decontamination are used