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Dental example: Systems, processes and practices to keep people safe

  • Organisations we regulate

Key question: safe?


As well as following HTM01-05 guidance in the decontamination room, the practice permanently displayed a check list at each work station in the decontamination process. These lists showed what must be done and to what standard before an item could be moved onto the next stage.

This is notable practice because it is a simple and effective way to remind staff of safe procedures.

Visual reminders and training

This practice used visual reminders to reinforce the use of safe decontamination processes to staff.

  • A nurse had videoed the correct processes so that all staff could watch them and refresh their skills
  • Photographs of each process were displayed in the decontamination room as a reminder

Staff had also received detailed training on how to use the equipment safely.

Feedback from staff about the visual reminders showed that they all felt there was a more consistent approach to decontamination, and they found these were more effective than written protocols.

This is notable practice because they used innovative methods to reinforce procedures and analysed whether they were effective.

Infection prevention and control

This practice uses robust and methodical processes for infection prevention and control. For example,

  • Following an incident while cleaning sharp instruments manually, the practice responded by discussing a change in protocol and then embedded this within the practice.
  • To audit infection control process, the practice tested using an ultrasonic bath and washer disinfector rather than manual cleaning techniques. They compared results and found their current manual methods were effective.
  • A dedicated dental nurse led training in infection prevention and control, which improved the knowledge of staff throughout the practice.
  • Protocols and illustrative flowcharts for each work station of the decontamination process showed what was required at each stage, as well as the quality expected before an item could move to the next stage of the process.
  • Protein residue tests are completed routinely throughout manual cleaning in the decontamination process, and the results of the manual cleaning cycles are recorded.

Infection control was a routine agenda item at practice meetings. Staff reflected on procedures and discussed possible improvements.

Key line of enquiry (KLOE)

S6: What systems, processes and practices are in place to protect people from unsafe use of equipment, materials and medicines?

See all the key lines of enquiry in our handbook for dental providers.

Last updated:
30 November 2017