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26th March 2020

Prevention and Control of Infection and Handwashing

The spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has seen a global focus on the prevention and control of infection, related to health care settings and more widely in the public health arena.

For those who work in health and social care , Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) have been a way of life for many years. These standard precautions are the basis for all policies and procedures relating to prevention and control of infection. SICPs are to be used by all staff, in all care settings, at all times, for all service users whether an infection is known to be present or not to ensure the safety of those being cared for, staff and visitors in the health/social care environment.

I recently heard a care home manager on a phone-in section of the news saying she didn't know which advice to follow. In my opinion, you always go to the most reliable source(s). To that end, the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM) and Health Protection Scotland (HPS) are the go-to sources for accurate and up to date information.

HPS has published guidance which covers all health and non-healthcare settings (see links below). These are updated at regular intervals, and you can be assured that they are used by us (QCS) when the policies are updated or reviewed.

There are many video clips on social media related to effective handwashing, and these are very useful. Included below is a link to a clip of how germs spread, which give us much food for thought, now and in the future.

In summary:

  • wash your hands
  • encourage all service users to wash their hands, support if necessary
  • use standard precautions
  • ensure all staff are aware of current policies, procedures and their practice is up to date



*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Susan Donnelly

Scottish Mental Health

Susan began her nursing career in 1980, as a student nurse, then worked in Mental Health as a Staff Nurse, Ward Sister/Charge Nurse and Clinical Nurse Specialist. She moved to Regulation and Inspection in 1997, as a Senior Nurse with the former Greater Glasgow Health Board and moved to the Care Inspectorate (formerly known as the Care Commission) in 2002 initially as an Inspector then as the Professional Adviser for Mental Health and latterly held the post of Improvement Adviser.

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