Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Control of infection in general practice: a survey and recommendations.

British Medical Journal 1988; 297 doi: (Published 02 July 1988) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1988;297:34
  1. P. N. Hoffman,
  2. E. M. Cooke,
  3. D. P. Larkin,
  4. L. J. Southgate,
  5. R. T. Mayon-White,
  6. J. V. Pether,
  7. A. E. Wright,
  8. D. Keenlyside
  1. Division of Hospital Infection, Central Public Health Laboratory, London.


    Twenty general practices in four areas in Britain were surveyed to establish their needs for and practices of sterilising and disinfecting equipment. Of the 327 items of equipment and instruments examined in the survey, 190 were satisfactorily decontaminated, 100 were treated in a way judged to result in doubtful decontamination, and in 37 cases treatment was considered unsatisfactory. Decontamination apparatuses (autoclaves, hot air ovens, and hot water disinfectors) were generally in good working order, but the use of chemical disinfectants was often inappropriate. Recommendations were made on appropriate methods of decontamination for various items in common use in general practice. By virtue of the large numbers of patients treated by general practitioners there is a substantial possibility of transmitting infection; having appropriate methods for decontaminating instruments and equipment is therefore imperative.