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Infection prevention and control guidelines

About these guidelines

    1. About these guidelines

Last revised: 18 Aug 2023

About these guidelines

Potentially infectious microorganisms are ubiquitous in healthcare settings. Infection prevention and control measures aim to minimise the number of pathogenic microorganisms in the practice environment and prevent their transmission.

Aim

These guidelines provide general practices and other office-based healthcare practices with updated guidance on planning and implementing high standards of infection prevention and control in their workplaces.

Intended readers

These guidelines are intended mainly for owners, managers and staff of general practices and allied care practices.

How these guidelines were developed

These guidelines were developed and reviewed by experts in the fields of infectious diseases, microbiology and infection prevention and control as well as doctors, practice nurses and practice managers.

The guidance draws on the following key sources:

  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Standards for general practices. 5th edition. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 20201 (the Standards)
  • National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare (2019)2
  • National Hand Hygiene Initiative manual (2019)3
  • Communicable Diseases Network Australia. Australian national guidelines for the management of healthcare workers living with blood borne viruses and healthcare workers who perform exposure-prone procedures at risk of exposure to blood borne viruses (2019)4
  • current standards applicable to Australian practice and draft new standards, where relevant.

This publication replaces RACGP Infection prevention and control standards for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices,5 last updated in 2016.

Note on terminology:

In these guidelines, ‘staff’ includes all people who work or provide care within the practice, including employees and contractors (eg doctors, nurses, receptionists, practice managers, allied health professionals, administrative staff, cleaners including contract cleaners). ‘Clinical staff’ refers to health professionals (including doctors, nurses, Aboriginal health workers, and allied health care professionals).

‘The Standards’ refers to RACGP Standards for general practices.

Use of ‘could’, ‘should’ and ‘must’

It is important to acknowledge that this resource is intended as a guideline to assist health professionals in general practices and other office-based and community-based practices in their implementation of infection prevention and control procedures. This means that practices are not accredited against Infection prevention and control guidelines, but may refer to them in meeting some criteria set out in the Standards.

Throughout these guidelines, the words ‘could’, ‘should’ and ‘must’ are used as follows:

  • ‘Could’ is used to indicate that something is optional.
  • ‘Should’ is used to indicate that something is strongly recommended by the RACGP and key sources from which the guidelines have drawn from (as listed above).
  • ‘Must’ is used to indicate that something is mandatory.

References

  1. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Standards for general practices. 5th edn. East Melbourne: RACGP; 2020. 
  2. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare 2019 (Version 11.12) [Website]: MAGICapp; 2022 [cited 2022 September].
  3. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. National Hand Hygiene Initiative manual. Sydney, NSW: ACSQHC; 2019.
  4. Communicable Diseases Network Australia. Australian national guidelines for the management of healthcare workers living with blood borne viruses and healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures at risk of exposure to blood borne viruses (revised 2019): Australian Government Department of Health; 2018 [cited 2022 March]. 
  5. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Infection prevention and control standards for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices. 5th ed. East Melbourne, Victoria: RACGP; 2014.

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