Complying with CQC requirements is of utmost importance for a GP practice, but there may be some principles around infection control that you are not aware of.
The CQC requires GP practices to comply with the Health & Social Care Act 2008 Code of Practice. Each GP practice should have an infection control policy in place and adhere to it. This policy should include issues such as:
- Hand hygiene
- Personal protection equipment (PPE)
- Transmission-based precautions
- Auditing, storage and handling of vaccines
- Decontamination of equipment and waste disposal.
Below are five of the key areas where service providers have slipped up in the area of infection control.
1. Have an infection control lead on site
An infection control lead is someone that is responsible for your practice’s management of infection prevention and control. They oversee infection control policies and have the authority to challenge inappropriate practice. It is important there is an infection control lead on site at all times to ensure that appropriate infection control practices are being conducted.
2. Keep a record of cleaning
The CQC website provides a case study of a service provider whose rooms were found to be clean and in a good state of repair, but there was no record of any cleaning being carried out. The CQC’s judgment was, therefore, that staff and people who used the service were not adequately protected from the risk of infection because the provider was not monitoring procedures as required. To comply, cleaning should be documented each time it is undertaken.
3. Undertake infection control auditing
The CQC website discusses a service provider that did not undertake audits to show the effectiveness of their decontamination processes or infection control practices. The CQC therefore judged that there were inadequate systems to manage and monitor infection control.
To comply, auditing should be conducted regularly to ensure that infection control practices are being abided by and clinical equipment should be tested to ensure that cleaning practices are appropriately disinfecting it.
4. Comply with the new EU directive on sharps
In May 2013 the EU legislation ‘Health & Safety (Sharps Instruments in HealthCare) Regulations 2013’ came into force. They provide specific detail on requirements that must be taken by healthcare employers and their contractors. The legislation outlines that:
- A ‘safer sharps’ management procedure needs to be put in place
- Needles must not be recapped
- Sharps must be disposed of safely and in the correct sharps container
- Sharps containers must be stored safely and securely on-site
- Sharps must be disposed of using a registered waste carrier
5. Comply with clinical waste regulations
The Statutory Duty of Care around clinical waste states that as a producer of any controlled waste, it is your responsibility to ensure the correct and proper management of the controlled waste your organisation produces.
The main principles of Duty of Care focus around documenting the transfer of waste and ensuring that your waste is handled correctly by waste carriers. Your practice should only use a contractor who can provide proof of compliance with the legislation. Correct documentation must also be provided for all waste transfers.