IPC Guidance Updated - Scotland More Funding

IPC Guidance Updated - Scotland More Funding

‘This is a communique from the UK IPC Cell’ is not from a scene in a 1980’s movie about terrorists, but the recently published consensus statement regarding protection from COVID-19 in clinical settings.                                                                                                                                                                   

In response to the pandemic NHS England/Improvement set up the National Incident Response Board (NIRB). It has different committees feeding into it, which are called ‘cells.’ Cell members include “senior IPC representatives,” from the four nations.

The latest update released on April 14th is based upon the December 8th publication, itself an update of previous COVID-19 guidance. Key parts of the statement include, “Concerns regarding increased transmissibility and potential impact on health and social care are acknowledged. It was agreed that there is provision within the guidance for extended use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) following local risk assessment. It was agreed, however, that this could be made more explicit…”

The general tone appears to be to encourage continued adherence to the existing guidelines and bespoke risk assessment: “There should be reinforcement to providers of health and care services of the need for rigorous implementation of all IPC measures, based on a dynamic risk assessment based on person, place and environment, using a hierarchy of controls approach. There should be an emphasis on the optimised use of personal protective equipment (PPE) (right time, right place) and which includes the safe donning and doffing of PPE.”                                                                         

With mask use in public tailing off, clinicians are reminded that, “There should also be a strengthening of messaging on safe and correct mask use by patients, visitors, and staff”. There is also a reminder about mask type, “With regard to FFP2 versus FFP3 masks, it is a requirement of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that FFP2 masks are also fit-tested in the same way as FFP3 masks. HSE also advises against the use of FFP2 unless we are in contingency measures as these provide a lesser filtration rate than FFP3.”

The consensus statement contains no new material, but appears to be a reminder to continue to follow the existing guidance, and to avoid taking an ‘autopilot’ approach to risk assessment.

On the same day that NHS England issued this somewhat vague guidance on Infection Control, the Scottish government issued some more specific guidance. This was on how to apply for a share of the £12.5 million funding, previously announced to improve dental equipment, in particular to help with post pandemic recovery. Practices can claim up to £2500 per individual surgery towards a range of equipment including, chairs, lights, suction and delivery units. This represents an increase in the range of items funded, originally there being £5 million earmarked for ventilation improvements and £7.5 million for speed increasing (red band) hand pieces. There are conditions, including that recipients will need to provide general dental services until April 1st 2024. Payments will be proportional to the practices commitment percentage.

Image Courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottishgovernment/50191961316

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