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The Importance of nominating a Decontamination Lead

Whether you are setting up a new practice or owning an existing one its incredibly important that you have a nominated Decontamination Lead. Sometimes this is often overlooked and, from my experience, left to the Practice Manager to deal with.

HTM and UK guidance states ‘The practice should have a nominated lead member of staff responsible for infection control and decontamination.’ and goes onto say ‘the Code of Practice makes it a requirement that an individual is given the responsibility for infection control and decontamination. This person should have the experience and authority to perform this task and should be accountable to the Registered Manager.’

The Decontamination Lead role is an important leadership position within the practice and is an integral part in ensuring that the practice remains fully compliant.

Whomever you decide to undertake this position it is advised that they are a suitably experienced member of the team. It is important that they are given appropriate training in order to fulfil their role along with demonstrating competencies in their duties and suitable training records are kept and maintained. The training that is given should be supported by defined learning outcomes and competencies and should include:

· an understanding of the whole decontamination process;

· an understanding of their roles and those of others;

· understanding of the need for infection control and all relevant infection control policies and procedures;

· an understanding of, and an ability to perform, periodic testing where appropriate.

It can also make sense for the decontamination Lead to also adopt the role of Designated Person. The Designated Person’s Role and Responsibility is to ‘act as the interface between the practice and support services supplied externally, including service, maintenance and testing.’

The person that undertakes this role will have a vast list of jobs to undertake, which is not limited to:

· Maintaining all testing and Validation record for decontamination Equipment

· Ensuring IPC standards are maintained

· Ensuring all stored instruments are done so correctly and correct procedures are followed

· Maintaining safe and appropriate transportation of dirty and clean instruments

· Ensuring DUWL/ Suction Line cleaning and disinfection protocols are adhered to

· Ensuring Decontamination equipment is serviced/ validated, PVI checked in accordance with manufacturers guidance.

The Decontamination Lead will also aid, with the help of the Registered Manager, in ensuring that the practices is kept up to date with the latest IPC guidance.

Having a nominated lead within your practice not only helps to maintain safety for all personal, patients and vistors, but also helps with the smooth day to day running of your surgeries.

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