First published in 2009, the Health Technical Memorandum aims to "progressively raise the quality of decontamination work in primary care dental services by covering the decontamination of reusable instruments within dental facilities." The 2009 edition was eventually superseded by the 2013 one, published on 28th March. The Department of Health (2013) make the admission that, "the 2009 edition was not helpful in the management of these frequently used instruments".
Here are some of the HTM 01-05 2013 Edition highlights:
- The shelf life of wrapped instruments has been extended from 21 and 60 days to a maximum of one year.
- Unwrapped instruments in the clinical area can be stored for 1 day.
- Unwrapped instruments in a non-clinical area can be stored for 1 week.
- Detailed guidance on how to manage and store unwrapped instruments has been provided.
- Regard all instruments set out for each patient as contaminated after the treatment whether or not they have been used.
- Instruments that are kept unwrapped should be reprocessed at the end of the working day, regardless of whether they have been used.
- Non-clinical area in this context is designated as a clinical area not in current use or in a clean area of a separate decontamination room.
For more details and full specifications, it is strongly recommended to read the HTM 01-05 2013 Edition.