General Principles of infection control
Standard infection control precautions underpin routine safe practice at Harley House Surgery. They protect both staff and patients from infection. They are carried out with all patients, regardless of perceived or known infection risk factors and include:
- Hand washing and drying
- The use of protective clothing
- Protection of open wounds
- Safe disposal of clinical waste and sharps
- Prevention of sharps injury
- Safe handling of contaminated linen
- Environmental cleaning
- Decontamination of equipment
Much of the micro-organism transmission between patients occurs by staff hands. Hand washing is the single most important activity for preventing cross infection. How often you wash your hands depend on your risk assessment of the procedure you have just completed and the actions you are about to start.
Routine hand washing is sufficient before and after most activities carried out in clinical practice. Before minor surgery and invasive procedures you need a more intensive technique to reduce the number of resident organisms.
Protective clothing is essential to protect both patients and staff from micro-organisms. It protects the skin and mucous membranes from exposure to blood and body fluids and also protects the uniform from contamination.
Disposal of Waste
Waste disposal is governed by the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Different classes of waste must be segregated and discarded into the appropriate container with the name and address of the source of the waste affixed to the outside.
Reducing waste can save money and help the environment
- Do not dispose of household waste in clinical waste bags
- Avoid packaging where possible
- Use re-usable items such as plastic boxes for transporting supplies
Storage of waste
- Carry out and record a risk assessment of waste management requirements – for example where to put sharps containers and clinical waste bags
- Ensure clinical waste containers are never more than three-quarters full
- Ensure clinical waste containers are out of reach from the public and handled with care
Management of linen
- Use single-use products such as paper roll for examination couches always.
The environment plays a relatively minor role in transmitting infection, but dust, dirt and liquid residues will increase the risk. They should be kept to a minimum by regular cleaning and by good design features in buildings, fixtures and fittings.
A written cleaning schedule has been devised based on a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health assessment. It should set out the management of spilt body fluids and regular dust removal and specify the persons responsible for cleaning, the frequency of cleaning and methods to be used.
- Work surfaces and floors should be smooth-finished, intact, durable, of good quality and washable. They should be impervious to fluids.
- Carpets are not recommended in treatment rooms or areas where minor surgical procedures will take place because of the risk of body fluid spills
- Keeps mops and buckets clean, dry and inverted
- Mop heads must be removed for frequent laundering and replaced monthly
- Use single use, non-shredding cloths or paper rolls for cleaning
- Keep equipment used for general cleaning separate from those used for cleaning up body fluids.
Policy Reviewed 22/05/2018