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Sterilisation and infection control

Minor surgery in general practice has a low incidence of complications.
It is important that practices providing minor surgery operate to the highest possible standards.
To maintain high standards practices should:

  • Have approved sterilisation procedures that reflect national guidelines
  • Obtain sterile packs from the local CSSD
  • Use disposable sterile instruments

Sterilising equipment should be maintained regularly. The practice must have an infection control policy, which covers excised specimens, the disposal of clinical waste and the handling of used instruments.

Infection control guidelines

The recommendations are divided into three broad recommendation headings:

  • Hand hygiene: hands must be decontaminated immediately before each and every episode of direct patient contact or care and after any activity or contact that could potentially result in hands becoming contaminated.
  • The use of personal protective equipment: gloves must be worn as single-use items. They must be put on immediately before an episode of patient contact or treatment and removed as soon as the activity is completed. Gloves must be changed between caring for different patients, and between different care or treatment activities for the same patient. In a recent study only 33.1% GPs reported wearing gloves during minor operations.
  • The safe use and disposal of sharps.