GPs have been wrongly urged to cut down on the number of toys in their waiting room and remove any soft furnishings by PCT infection control leads in advice the CQC says is incorrect.
The Care Quality Commission has asked GP practices to report any NHS managers overzealously applying infection control guidelines to ban toys or soft furnishings in waiting rooms.
The move comes after a GP practice in Surrey was urged to cut down on the number of toys in their waiting room and clean them every day in order to comply with regulations on infection control.
The CQC says it was aware of a number of PCTs that have been saying similar things to GP practices and said rumours that toys would have to be removed and only hard chairs would be allowed in waiting rooms to register with the regulator were ‘absolutely false’.
Dr Martin Brunet, a GP in Godalming, Surrey, said his practice had been visited by an infection control nurse who had claimed CQC requirements would include removing and cleaning toys from his waiting room.
He said on the social networking site Twitter: ‘Wooden toys had to go – plastic were ok if there was a strict cleaning protocol.’
Yong Tan, infection control lead nurse at NHS Surrey, said they had only provided advice to reduce the volume of children’s toys and that it was up to the practice to decide whether to implement it.
He said: ‘It’s great for children to have something to play with as it can help them feel more at ease; however, they do carry risk of infection and therefore need to be cleaned every day.
‘With this in mind, we suggested the practice may want to have fewer toys so they can keep them clean more easily. As it was only a recommendation, it is for the practice to choose whether or not to make any changes.’
A CQC spokesperson said the advice was ‘wrong’ and this was not something that the CQC would be concerned with.
He said: ‘Rumours that practices will have to throw out toys from their waiting rooms have no basis in fact. This and other rumours such as carpets and soft furnishings in waiting rooms will have to be removed due to infection issues control are absolutely false.’
‘These are matters that are not likely to cause the CQC any concern, or lead to non-compliance with the essential standards of quality and safety.’
‘The Commission is aware that some PCTs have been saying this to practices and would encourage anyone who has encountered this behaviour pass that information on to the CQC who will advise the PCT their advice is wrong.’
The news comes as the CQC sent out invitation letters for thousands of GP practices to begin their CQC registration last week.