New Diathermy Consumables Framework Offers Enhancements to Staff and Patient Safety

27 September 2021

Extensive research, and engagement with stakeholders from across the NHS, have driven improvements to the recently launched Diathermy Consumables and Related Accessories Framework. These improvements, which include vastly increasing the range of suppliers and products available across Smoke Evacuation and Diathermy Plates, alongside the addition of Reusable Patient Return Electrodes, enables more efficient patient outcomes and support the focus on enhancing staff and patient safety during electrosurgical procedures.

Further details regarding these framework changes are outlined under the following three key category areas:

Smoke Evacuation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has estimated that more than 500,000 health care workers are exposed to surgical smoke every year (1*). Published data outlines that dedicated smoke evacuation/extraction devices are effective at reducing the levels of smoke inhaled during surgical procedures.

In line with recommendations, the Diathermy Consumables and Related Accessories Framework now offers a larger range of smoke evacuation products, made possible by increasing the supplier base from 5 suppliers per product, to 25, across the following Smoke Evacuation category areas:

  • Smoke evacuation machines
  • Disposable pencils
  • Filters
  • Tips and attachments

The new product range compliments the diathermy equipment available via the recently awarded Electrosurgical Equipment, Smoke Evacuators, Related Products and Accessories framework Agreement. See our Useful Links section for further information on this framework.

Diathermy Plates

To further reduce the risk of patient harm during operating procedures, solid diathermy plates have been de-listed from the framework in favour of split plate electrodes. Split plates are designed to monitor the patient-to-pad interface with the generator and decrease the risk of alternate site burns or shocks by only partially attaching to the patients’ skin.

An increased level of choice is available for single use split plates, via the new framework, as a result of expanding the supplier base which has grown from 5 to 19 suppliers, across the range. Various plate sizes are available, with or without lead wires, to accommodate customer requirements.

Reusable Patient Return Electrodes

Reusable patient return electrodes have been introduced as a new category to the framework and have comfort, efficiency and sustainability benefits due to their design. As mats that stick to an operating trolley, they can be used in a variety of electrosurgical procedures and will accommodate patients of varying weights and heights, meaning that they can be wiped down and re-used. Not only does this accelerate the process of getting patients into surgery, it also reduces the amount of waste generated.

The changes to this framework have been made with the customer in mind; providing an increased level of choice that will deliver long term health benefits to the NHS.

For further information on the options available, please see our useful links section to access the Diathermy Consumables and Related Accessories Contract Information Page. This framework starts on 26 July 2021 and runs for 36 months, ending on 25 July 2024. Please speak to your local Customer Relationship Manager to find out more.


(1*) Safety and Health Topics: Laser/Electrosurgery Plume. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Accessed 20 September, 2016. [VA]