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NHS England cleanliness standards ‘not mandatory’ for GP practices

cleanliness standards

GP practices are not required to adhere to NHS England’s national standards of healthcare cleanliness, the BMA has said.

The extensive NHS England national standards of healthcare cleanliness, published in April, said they ‘apply to all healthcare environments’, including ‘GP surgeries and clinics’.

They require healthcare organisations to ‘demonstrate how and to what standard they are being cleaned’ and ‘combine mandates, guidance, recommendations and good practice’ to ‘encourage continuous improvement’, the 56-page-long document added.

The standards include a ‘star rating’ for patient-facing areas that ‘should be displayed to give patients, staff, and public an easily understood visual score of the standard of cleanliness being met’.

They also require organisations to display a ‘commitment to cleanliness charter’ where ‘it will be seen’.

However, the BMA’s latest GP Committee bulletin told practices that NHS England has confirmed that the standards are not ‘mandatory’ for practices, although GPs must ‘have regard to’ NHS England guidance.

It said: ‘Members and practices have been asking if the implementation of the national standard of healthcare cleanliness is mandatory in primary care. 

‘NHSE/I has confirmed that, while contractors must have regard to NHSE/I guidance, it is not a mandatory requirement.’

The BMA added that the CQC has acknowledged in its advice on infection prevention and control in general practice that it will ‘continue to regulate in line with its regulations and the existing code of practice’.

It comes as the BMA has advised practices they should tell patients that wearing a face mask on the premises is a ‘legal requirement’ if a risk assessment suggests masks should be worn.

Last week, NHS England confirmed that coronavirus infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance remains in place and patients and staff should continue to wear face masks in GP practices

It followed the Government’s announcement that they would no longer be mandatory in public places.

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