26 October 2010
Q. How long have I got to comply with the decontamination guidance from the Department of Health?
In October 2008 the Department of Health published new guidance for primary care dentistry in the form of a Health Technical Memorandum, HTM 01-05: Decontamination in primary care dental practices. This document was superseded by a new version that was published in April 2009 and the current version published in November 2009. This document is available to download from the Department of Health website
The guidance aims to progressively raise the quality of instrument decontamination in primary care dental services, by supporting a programme of continuous improvement. It is intended to advance good practice and is intended to be used, by all members of a dental team. The document sets out the essential quality requirements and best practice.
In December 2009 copies of the Health Technical Memorandum 01-05: Decontamination in primary care dental practices were sent to dentists by the Chief Dental Officer, together with a self audit tool kit to complement the guidance. Dental practices were given 12 months from receipt of the guidance to reach the essential quality requirements set out in the HTM 01-05 guidance. Practices have until December 2010 to reach the essential quality requirements. As part of the requirements practices must also have in place a detailed plan showing how the practice will work towards achieving best practice.
The Chief Dental Officer's letter of December 2009 can be found here
Under both the GDS and PDS contracts it is a requirement for all providers to comply with the relevant guidance produced by the PCT, the relevant SHA and the Secretary of State. However, the HTM 01-05 guidance is also of importance to practices with no NHS commitment, as registration with the Care Quality Commission requires that essential quality requirements around the decontamination of dental equipment are met. Compliance with HTM 01-05 should satisfy these requirements. All providers of primary dental services will need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission by April 2011. Further information about registration with the Care Quality Commission can be found here