On 25 January 2018, HPS published ‘Roles & responsibilities for reusable patient care equipment and environmental decontamination’.
This report contains an evidence base for defining roles and responsibilities of healthcare workers on decontamination of the healthcare environment and communal reusable patient care equipment nationally. This involved the completion of a targeted review of the published literature on roles and implementation of roles and responsibilities against national findings. A survey of NHS boards was also undertaken looking at the staff involved in cleaning in clinical settings and the results of this are also included in the report.
The information gained informed the development of national recommendations to define roles and responsibilities of healthcare workers for reusable patient equipment and environmental decontamination. The key output from this review is the production of a flow chart.
This report will build on and support the 2014 ‘A-Z Template for Decontamination of Re-usable Communal Patient equipment’.
During the past few months, a review of Chapter 2 (TBPs) and Appendix 11 of the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM) has been undertaken with stakeholders and the National Policies and Guidance and Outbreaks Consultation and Steering Groups. The recommended changes have now been implemented.
Changes made to Chapter 2 include further details on patient placement (Chapter 2.1) and management of care environment (Chapter 2.3) by hospital, care home and primary care/outpatient settings and PPE/RPE (Chapter 2.4) giving further detail on respirator use and removal.
Changes have been made to the layout and content of Appendix 11 which is an ‘Aide Memoire for optimum patient placement and Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) for infectious agents whilst a patient is in hospital’.
The 33rd annual scientific conference of the British Society of Microbial Technology (BSMT) will be held at PHE Colindale on 18 May 2018.
BSMT conferences are aimed at senior biomedical and clinical scientists, other scientists and medical microbiologists. This year’s programme, entitled ‘Rapid Diagnostics - Time is Relative’, will attempt to demonstrate how molecular techniques affect turnaround times and what conventional microbiology can still offer.
Chaired by Professors Brian Duerden and Eric Bolton, the programme includes:
- optimising recovery of bacteria from blood cultures (Dr Mike Weinbren)
- device related orthopaedic infections and the potential place of new technologies (Dr Bridget Atkins)
- tracking Staphylococcus aureus around the ICU (Dr Stephanie Dancer)
- increased efficiency to meet winter demands for rapid detection of respiratory viruses (Dr Gemma Clark)
- molecular diagnostics for enteric infections – relevance for clinical diagnosis and public health (Professor Eric Bolton)
- rapid metagenomic diagnosis of hospital acquired pneumonia (Dr Justin O’Grady)
- rapid diagnostics, bad bugs and antibiotics: not that easy (Dr Vanya Gant)
An Early Bird discount rate of £95.00 applies to registrations received before 16 April 2018, the higher rate of £115.00 applying to registrations received after this date.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Defra, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland are working together to run a national foot and mouth disease simulation exercise called Exercise Blackthorn.
While the risk of foot and mouth disease arriving in the UK remains low, the aim of Exercise Blackthorn is to test all current contingency plans for a national outbreak of the disease. It will establish the current state of readiness while identifying issues and improvements in policies, plans, instructions, structures and recovery procedures employed in managing an outbreak.
The Exercise will simulate a medium to large scale outbreak that has spread from England to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The first simulation exercise was on 8 February 2018 where suspicion of foot and mouth disease was simulated. A further table-top exercise will take place on 8 March 2018 followed by a real-time exercise on 25 and 26 April 2018. Exercise Blackthorn will end on 7 June 2018 in a final table-top exercise where the simulated outbreak will be investigated to the point of disease eradication and recovery aspects considered.
The EU Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Directive 2003/85/EC requires member states to exercise their contingency plans twice within a five-year period or during the five-year period after the outbreak of a major epizootic disease has been effectively controlled and eradicated.
An exercise evaluation report will be published in autumn 2018.
Source: APHA News Release, 7 February 2018
The University of Stirling’s Faculty of Natural Sciences is working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to investigate the feasibility of introducing earth observation technology to its day-to-day operations in a bid to improve the quality and efficiency of water sampling. The novel approach uses the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite to identify potential contaminants in bodies of water, such as algal concentrations, harmful algal blooms, and mineral and organic matter.
The University of Stirling currently leads the GloboLakes project, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which has established the world’s first satellite-based global lake surveillance system. However, this new feasibility study will allow scientists to understand how the technology may benefit end users, in this case SEPA, in developing the approach as an operational capability and, in turn, improving their approach to assessing lake water quality.
Reflectance measurements, taken from the satellite, will be used to estimate concentrations of chlorophyll-a, in Scottish lochs. The data will then help to assess risk to water quality status and allow SEPA to better target and enhance their sampling efforts. This method of monitoring should provide a more detailed and representative view of whole bodies of water, when compared to current sampling techniques that typically assess water quality in samples taken close to shore.
Sources: SEPA Media Release, 13 February 2018 and University of Stirling News Release, 12 February 2018
On 13 February 2018, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a report on an EU/EEA-wide project of its Enforcement Forum which showed that inspectors had found hundreds of consumer products with illegal amounts of restricted chemicals. Every fifth toy inspected contained high levels of restricted phthalates.
The project report shows a relatively high number of products on the European market containing chemicals that are restricted under REACH. Inspectors in 27 European countries checked 1,009 mixtures, 4,599 articles and 17 substances. Overall, out of 5,625 targeted product checks, 18% did not comply with the restrictions.
The most frequent breaches were: phthalates in toys (20% of inspected toys contained Bis(2-ethylhexyl) (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) at levels above those permitted), cadmium in brazing fillers (14%) and asbestos fibres in products (14%). The products containing asbestos, for example, catalytic heaters, thermos flasks, brake pads, were mostly second-hand and probably produced before the restrictions prohibiting the sale of products containing asbestos came into force.
Inspectors also found high concentrations of chromium VI in leather articles (13% of the tested products) and cadmium in jewellery (12%).
Overall, most of the breaches were found with products whose origins could not be identified (39% of such products did not comply), followed by products imported from China (17%).
The report highlights companies’ responsibility to get information on the chemical composition of their products from their suppliers. This may also include proactively testing the products and making agreements between suppliers so that the chemical composition complies with chemicals legislation. The enforcement authorities will continue enforcing REACH restrictions by analysing further products on the market.
Source: ECHA New Release, 13 February 2018