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29th March 2017

Training a Receptionist to become a Health Care Assistant?

Health Care Assistants (HCAs) and Infection Control

GP practices have in the past and are continuing into the future to train willing and enthusiastic receptionists to become Health Care Assistants.

From April 2015 HCAs should be trained to the Care Certificate Standard and the CQC issued guidance to providers with reference to the Care Certificate made under Regulation 18 on staffing, and Regulation 19 on fit and proper persons employed. This meant that there was robust training available that practices need to follow when employing a new HCA or training an existing member of staff.

Nail polish and Infection control in General Practice

Do your staff or receptionists come to work wearing the fashionable gel nail polish?

More to the point does you HCA wear gel or any other kind of nail polish? Do they have their nails cut short and keep them clean? Who checks this? Have the longstanding HCAs had new updated infection control training? Your lead nurse should be in control of this.

But is there a member of staff in your practice that the lead nurse may have overlooked, because for a number of years you may have had an HCA with a dual receptionist role and basically gets on with her job.

Nonetheless, maybe she loves the ‘gel nails’ with the fancy nail polish, which can’t be taken off on a daily basis, but no one has told her or given training on nail polish infection control rules.

Nice guidance on nail polish for healthcare workers

Nice issues good guidance on infection control and nail polish is part of the hand decontamination.

Nice say:

Healthcare workers should ensure that their hands can be decontaminated throughout the duration of clinical work by:

Being bare below the elbow when delivering direct patient care 'hands on' or face-to-face contact with patients, in other words any physical aspect of the healthcare of a patient, including treatments, self-care and administration of medication (bare below the elbow is considered to mean: not wearing false nails or nail polish; not wearing a wrist-watch or stoned rings; wearing short-sleeved garments or being able to roll or push up sleeves).

Making sure that fingernails are short, clean and free of nail polish.

Check out your staff that they are aware of the nail polish rules

It is always good practice to check on all healthcare workers in your practice for nail polish including:

  • Phlebotomists
  • HCAs
  • Nurses
  • Doctors

More information is available from NICE :

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

Michelle Broutta

GP Specialist

In December 2014, Michelle joined the Care Quality Commission as a Specialist Advisor (SpA), Practice Manager. Michelle works with the Inspection team and inspects primary medical services. To date, Michelle has inspected around 60 GP practices across the country.

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