Implementing Effective Infection Control Policies

A policy is a guideline based on a regulation. Making it effective is dependent on how well it is written and how easy it is to implement.

Implementing effective infection control policies

A policy is the What, How and Why of a process.

The procedure is how a process works.

HTM01-05 is the guidance document dental practices follow to create their Infection control policies and procedures

The author will need to decide if it will be either, the policy and procedure in single format or a separate policy and procedure. The policy should ideally have the following sections included:

  • Header 
  • Scope – this is the area that is being dealt with 
  • Policy
  • Responsibilities
  • Definitions and references 
  • Procedure (If in policy and procedure format)
  • Name of author
  • Approvals 
  • Date implemented 
  • Edition 
  • Review dates
  • A decision needs to be made to determine if the Infection prevention control policy will be an overview policy covering all aspects required or a summary of the other policies, which make up a comprehensive policy suite.
  • Do not make the text complicated jargon as this will make it harder to implement.
  • Present the information in numbered easy to read paragraphs, making sure that there is a consistent  from the policy to the procedure  
  • The infection control policy statement must state any areas where full compliance with HTM01-05 cannot be met either by structure of the premises or other reason. It must state that the practice is meeting essential quality requirements. A written action plan must be in place to say how the practice will reach best practice if or when required.

As a minimum the local infection control policy or policies should include:

1. Minimizing the risk of blood-borne virus transmission. It should include sharps injuries and how to reduce them taking into consideration new legislation around Safe Sharps (Read Health and Safety Sharp Instruments in Healthcare Regulations 2013. SEE PERSONAL PROTECTION SECTION OF WEBSITE).

2. A policy on decontamination and storage of dental instruments.

3. Procedures for cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of instruments.

4. A policy for the management and disposal of clinical waste (waste disposal policy) (for further details see Health Technical Memorandum 07-01 safe management of healthcare waste) SEE WASTE MANAGEMENT SECTION OF WEBSITE

5. A policy for hand hygiene

6. A policy for decontamination of new reusable instruments

7. Local policy and procedure for use of personal protective wear (PPE)

8. Spillage procedures as part of local COSHH arrangements including disinfectants how they are used storage and disposal 

9. Environmental cleaning and maintenance

10. Procedures for the infection control of instruments and equipment

11. Transportation of instruments.

Staff training sessions based on the policy will encourage staff to refer to the processes and deliver a consistent procedure.

  • Make constant reference to the policy and its location.
  • Give staff easy access to the policy and procedures by laminating the procedures and attaching to insides of cupboard or on the walls (in decontamination rooms) for easy reference.  
  • Review of the infection prevention policy is recommended every two years, unless there is new guidance or there is a change in practice procedures.