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Deadline approaches for compliance with National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness

The standards apply to healthcare settings registered with the Care Quality Commission – including hospitals and care homes

cleaning window
Pixabay/Simon Kadula

Healthcare settings registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have until 1 April 2022 to comply with National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness 2021.

As most optometry practices are not required to register with the CQC, optometrists are generally exempt from the standards.

However, domiciliary optometrists who work in care homes and hospital optometrists will be working in healthcare settings where the rules apply.

The standards, which were first published in May 2021, reflect modern methods of cleaning and infection prevention and control as well as outlining important considerations for cleaning services during a pandemic.

Underpinning the standards is the principle that healthcare environments should pose minimal risk to patients, staff and visitors.

The standards require providers to vary cleaning frequency, monitoring and auditing in proportion to the level of functional risk associated with different areas.

“For example, a records storeroom will not require as frequent cleaning as an intensive care unit,” the standards state.

Compliance with the standards and auditing processes should be written into contracts with cleaning service providers.

Head of clinical and regulatory at the AOP, Henry Leonard, highlighted: “The vast majority of optometry practices are not required to register with the CQC and consequently aren’t obliged to follow the new standards. Optometry businesses which also offer ophthalmology services, such as refractive surgery, may need to be CQC-registered, in which case they will need to follow the new standards.”