Practices are being urged to use a free self-audit practice hygiene tool launched by the Bella Moss Foundation (BMF) – a charity that promotes prudent antimicrobial use and hygiene in human and veterinary medicine.

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The tool allows a room-by-room assessment of cleanliness levels using tick sheets, helping practices to identify problems and instigate any staff training needed to ensure infection controls are in place in all areas.

It has been created by registered veterinary nurse Louise O’Dwyer and vet Pam Mosedale, who drew up the foundation’s infection control guidelines last year.

Miss Mosedale said the audit tool would give practices a framework they could use on a day-to-day basis to check hygiene standards.

“It is so easy to forget things,” she said. “The theatre, for example, is probably absolutely spotless, but other areas may not be as clean and cleaned as regularly. The head nurse would be a person who might do the audit, but it will be up to the practice; we don’t want to be prescriptive about it.

“It’s just a matter of getting practices to think about biosecurity, hygiene and cleaning, and also about how they are going to monitor it so those high standards they have at certain times are maintained all the time.”

She said the tool would enable staff to go through every room and think about each situation logically, be it toys in the waiting room or cleaning the end of a stethoscope.

Miss Mosedale, who is veterinary advisor for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Practice Standards Scheme (PSS), added the new PSS scheme, taking effect in November, would include an infection control module so practices using the audit tool would have a way of showing assessors what they were achieving.

BMF has also produced a Clean Hands Challenge video, which explains the importance of basic hand hygiene in stopping infections, before taking viewers through a step-by-step demonstration of good washing technique.

The audit tool is available online and is one of a host of useful online resources by BMF, which relies entirely on donations and is staffed by volunteers.

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