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COVID-19: infection prevention and control dental appendix

By DTA | 25th November 2021 | News

 The UK Health Security Agency have published an updated dental appendix to the government's new infection prevention and control guidance for healthcare settings. 

The main changes from the previous version of this guidance include:

  • removal of the 3 distinct COVID-19 care pathways (high, medium and low)
  • use of a screening tool to place patients on either a non-respiratory or a respiratory pathway
  • for the non-respiratory pathway, guidance that physical distancing should be at least 1 metre in all areas where possible, for example when not providing direct clinical care. This should be increased to 2 metres whenever feasible

What has not changed:

  • organisations and employers have a responsibility to assess, manage and monitor risk based on the measures prioritised in the hierarchy of controls
  • all patients should be screened for COVID-19
  • universal masking/face coverings to remain as an IPC measure for staff and patients within dental settings across the winter period
  • patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection should have non-urgent treatment deferred if it is considered clinically appropriate
  • patients with symptoms of respiratory infection, or who have a confirmed respiratory infection, and whose treatment cannot be deferred, should be segregated or isolated, for example separated by space or time, from other patients
  • continuation of 2 metres physical distancing for patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection (respiratory pathway)

Please note that this guidance is of a general nature and employers should consider the specific conditions of each individual place of work and comply with all applicable legislation and regulations, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This guidance does not supersede existing legislation or regulations across the UK.

While this document seeks to ensure a consistent and resilient UK wide approach, some differences in operational details and organisational responsibilities may apply in the different UK nations.

We now await the publication of new standard operating procedures (SOPs)

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