Executive Summary

This section highlights the differences between the Executive Summary from the 2009 and 2013 editions of HTM 01-05.

Executive Summary

This 2013 edition of Health Technical Memorandum 01-05 reflects the consensus on patient safety in the area of storage of dental instruments.

Consequently, this review of the guidance on storage items (in particular, see paragraphs 2.4k, 4.22 and 4.26 to 4.27) has been carried out in advance of the planned revision of Health Technical Memorandum 01-05. 

It is recognised that potentially infectious re-contamination of sterilised dental instruments is 'event related' rather than 'time dependent'. Within dental practices, there is a rapid turnaround of the most regularly used dental instruments. The 2009 edition was not helpful in the management of these frequently used instruments.

The rationale for this change is that these dental instruments are used in contaminated body areas. Any environmental contamination that takes place would have a minimal impact on patient safety compared with contamination with another patient’s blood or body fluid, which would be a significant hazard to patients. Thus, the emphasis is on ensuring effective decontamination and preventing contamination with another patient’s blood and body fluid rather than on preventing environmental contamination of sterilized instruments.

The guidance document has also been updated to reflect the changes to the NHS infrastructure following the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

What do the changes mean and how will they affect your practice?

This is an overall summary as to why HTM 01-05 has been revised in 2013, summarising the main alterations to the document and the rationale behind the changes.