Roles & Responsibilities

Some practices may not be large enough to adopt these guidelines and it is acceptable in this case to assume that roles can be duplicated amongst staff. This is providing that all involved in the decontamination process are advised of what is expected of the dental team internally and externally.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Dental Team

This section highlights the importance of the roles and responsibilities in relation to all aspects of the management of the decontamination area.

It is not possible to provide details of what should be appropriate in your practice as HTM 01-05 delivers guidance universally.

Some practices may not be large enough to adopt these guidelines and it is acceptable in this case to assume that roles can be duplicated amongst staff. This is providing that all involved in the decontamination process are advised of what is expected of the dental team internally and externally.

A dental practice can establish its own policy and procedure. This is acceptable if they demonstrate adequate systems and a clear level of understanding in relation to competency and management of the decontamination process. This should be as required by Choice Framework for Local Policy & Procedure 01-01 part A.

These guidelines are outlined as follows:

  • A level of understanding in relation to current legal liabilities and best practice guidelines.
  • Advice is sought from a competent decontamination person on the purchase, validation, maintenance, testing and operation of all decontamination machinery.
  • Adequate evidence should be provided on the performance and testing of all decontamination equipment.
  • Demonstrates compliance with the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000.

Specified Roles and Responsibilities

The specific roles identified within HTM guidance are:

Registered Manager

The Registered Manager is ultimately responsible for ownership and the daily observation of the decontamination facility, ensuring that:

  • All staff are suitably trained.
  • All staff are aware of the whole decontamination process.
  • The dental team are aware of all roles and responsibilities of others. 
  • Staff are aware of the need for relevant infection control policies.
  • Staff understand the need and have the ability to perform periodic testing where appropriate 

Decontamination Lead

The Decontamination Lead is ultimately responsible for the decontamination and infection control element, and is directly accountable to the Registered Manager. The Decontamination Lead must be responsible for all processes in place and ensure that the daily testing of equipment is performed adequately. The individual is also responsible for ensuring that all validation, maintenance, testing and servicing documentation is in place.

Designated Person

The Designated Person is a link between the practice and any external support services with regard to any servicing, maintenance and testing requirements for equipment. The Decontamination Lead, Practice or General Manager could also act as the Designated Person.

Authorising Engineer

The Authorising Engineer is responsible for providing guidance and advice on compliance and implementation of decontamination issues in line with the current HTM 01-05 guidelines. A list of such of the suitable individuals for this can be found on the register held by institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM).

Authorised Person (Decontamination)

The Authorised Person (Decontamination) may or may not be employed by the practice but is responsible for liaising with the Authorising Engineer, providing technical support to the relevant Competent Person (Decontamination).

Competent Person (Decontamination)

The Competent Person (Decontamination) is responsible for all aspects relating to the testing, servicing and maintenance of decontamination equipment relating to the practice and again maybe employed by the dental practice or externally.

Competent Person (Pressure Systems)

This individual is responsible for the legislation, health and safety aspects relating to the decontamination equipment, in particularly equipment such as sterilisers that are pressure vessels which require a written scheme of examination which is usually provided by an insurance company.

User

The User's responsibility is likely to overlap with that of the Operator but must still be defined as a clear role. The User is primarily responsible for the daily management of the decontamination process in place, but must also ensure that all Operators are competent and suitably trained.

Operator

The Operator has the responsibility and authorisation to operate the decontamination equipment and carry out any routine testing required.

Manufacturer

The Manufacturer or supplier of any decontamination equipment.

Purchaser

The individual that purchases the equipment for use in the decontamination process.

The Importance of Documentation and Training

It is important to know that all personnel who are in anyway involved in the decontamination process should be documented locally.

Staff must be suitably trained to fulfil their specified roles and have relevant training or experience to back this up.