Department of Health revises code of practice on prevention of infections

This month, the Department of Health (DoH) updated the Code of Practice on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance under the Health & Social Care Act 2008. This change has been implemented to reflect the structural changes which have occurred in the NHS from 1 April 2013.

The revised Code of Practice replaces the previous edition published in 2010 and applies to all registered providers of adult social care and healthcare in England. It also applies to primary dental care, independent sector ambulance providers and primary medical care providers.

Part 2 of the Code of Practice sets out 10 standards, which CQC will take account of when determining how providers comply with infection prevention requirements. Registered providers will also have the opportunity to use the 10 standards and guidance set out in Parts 3 and 4 of the Code to develop their own risk assessments. This will enable providers to demonstrate that they have complied with registration standards by having regard to the Code.

The 10 Criteria –

Systems to manage and monitor the prevention and control of infection. These systems use risk assessments and consider the susceptibility of service users and any risks that their environment and other users may pose to them.

Provide and maintain a clean and appropriate environment in managed premises that facilitates the prevention and control of infections

Ensure appropriate antimicrobial use to optimise patient outcomes and to reduce the risk of adverse events and antimicrobial resistance.

Provide suitable accurate information on infections to service users, their visitors and any person concerned with providing further support or nursing/ medical care in a timely fashion.

Ensure prompt identification of people who have or are at risk of developing an infection so that they receive timely and appropriate treatment to reduce the risk of transmitting infection to other people

Systems to ensure that all care workers (including contractors and volunteers) are aware of and discharge their responsibilities in the process of preventing and controlling infection.

Provide or secure adequate isolation facilities.

Secure adequate access to laboratory support as appropriate.

Have and adhere to policies, designed for the individual’s care and provider organisations that will help to prevent and control infections.

Providers have a system in place to manage the occupational health needs and obligations of staff in relation to infection.

Overall, this Code of Practice will continue to help and maintain infection prevention whilst optimising antimicrobial use, and reducing antimicrobial resistance ensuring all service providers receive safe and effective care.

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