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Health and Safety – Infection Control

Washing handsIn this section:

Infection control is a fundamental aspect of Health and Safety management within a healthcare environment. Consequently, this Infection Control topic is included separately within the Practice Support Manual. For further information about Health and Safety legislation, general requirements and duties and for advice on other aspects of Health and Safety within dental practice, refer to Health and Safety – General.

The purpose of infection control (which is increasingly referred to as infection prevention and control) is to reduce the risk of transmission of potentially infective organisms between individuals and so prevent and control the occurrence of health care associated infections (HAIs).  In dental practice, where the main sources of infective organisms are blood and saliva, infection control encompasses a range of activities, including hand hygiene, environmental cleaning, waste management and instrument decontamination.

All dentists have a duty to take appropriate precautions to protect patients, members of the dental team and other contractors from the risk of infection during or associated with providing dental treatment. Practitioners must ensure their knowledge is up to date and that all staff are trained in infection control appropriate to their role in the practice. Failure to employ adequate methods of infection control could render a practitioner liable to a charge of serious professional misconduct by the General Dental Council (GDC).

This section deals with infection control within the dental practice. It draws on the latest Standard Infection Control Precautions within Health Protection Scotland’s National Infection Prevention and Control Manualand Health Facilities Scotland’s Compliant Dental Local Decontamination Units in Scotland.