A recent analysis of magazines in waiting rooms has highlighted that they may be doing more harm than good by spreading germs amongst visitors.
Magazines in dental waiting rooms are a common occurrence throughout the country, offering patients an opportunity to take their mind of their impending appointment. They can also provide a welcome distraction for parents with children or those just looking to kill time before it’s their turn. A recent analysis of magazines in waiting rooms has highlighted that they may be doing more harm than good by spreading germs amongst visitors. It is believed that magazines should be disposed of and recycled after a week instead of being left on waiting tables for weeks on end.
NHS infection control workers have been handing this advice out to dental practices across the country in order to try and minimize the spread of germs and diseases. They have also been informing practices that if they fail to do so, it could lead to failing inspections by the Care Quality Commission.
Monica Symes, a dental practitioner in Dorset who has been approached by NHS infection control workers finds it difficult to comprehend waiting room magazines can pose any risk to patients. Currently at her practice there are a range of magazines dating all the way back to 2004, as she feels people find the old magazines interesting. Miss Symes was also advised by the control worker from Dorset Primary Care Trust that the Blu-Tack on posters throughout her waiting room posed health risks for patients if it was re-used.
The General Dental Council believes that the Dorset Primary Care Trust was being quite heavy handed through creating such a fuss over the magazines at the dental practice. Dr John Milne, the chairman of the organisation’s general practice committee argued that offering patients the option of looking at magazines in their waiting rooms is a good way to help them relax in an environment that makes some anxious individuals nervous. On the posters note, he pointed out that these posters are there to provide advice on good oral health or offer information about the dental surgery.
The Care Quality Commission has made it clear they have not banned magazines or Blu-Tack from dental waiting rooms. A spokesman discussed that there would only be an issue with these things if they were used to compromise a person using the service – something they feel would be very hard to actually identify.
The Primary Care Trust in Dorset has revealed there are no set rules as to the usage of magazines and Blu-Tack in waiting rooms; however it is important for them to be removed as part of a regular cleaning operation, removing those in poor condition that may be a contamination risk. This advice will be under review and may be reinforced if there are any future community infection outbreaks in a similar way to when magazines were removed from doctors’ waiting rooms during the swine flu outbreak.
Gareth writes on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare offer private dental options and can offer you a dental plan that can be used privately and with NHS dentists