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GPs risk claims on decontamination

GPs may be risking negligence suits because of poor decontamination practice, warns a

senior Government adviser.

Dr Geoffrey Ridgway, consultant microbiologist at UCL hospitals and chair of the Department of Health's microbiology advisory committee, said there was still a 'major problem' and standards between practices were very

variable.

'The problem of decontamination has grown with the use of technology in primary care,' Dr Ridgway told GPs at a seminar organised by the London Clinic.

More training was needed so that GPs and other practice staff knew exactly what procedures to use in every situation, he said.

He claimed some GPs were unaware what the symbol for single-use equipment stood for and said they risked being held legally responsible under EU law for any such equipment used more than once.

Dr Karen Dalby, risk manager at the Medical Defence Union, told Pulse that decontamination was high on the primary care agenda and GPs were 'getting on board'.

The NICE guidelines on infection control were difficult to comply with but GPs were 'trying to address the issues', she said.

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