Experts are advising dental clinics to remove magazines from their waiting areas in order to stop the spread of germs, but some professionals are sceptical about the recommendations; Monica Symes, a practicing dentist in Lyme Regis was told by an NHS infection control worker that she should throw out her magazines after a week.
Miss Symes said she couldn’t believe that the magazines would pose a real risk to the health of patients, saying ‘Generally we try to keep up-to-date but plenty of old magazines are quite interesting.’ She was also told that the Blu-Tack on posters could be equally dangerous if re-used over and over.
The General Dental Council said that it’s difficult to see how magazines would be a real problem and that they were a good way of helping patients relax before going in for treatment. The Care Quality Commission also said that they were not banning magazines or Blu-Tack from waiting rooms, saying ‘The only time these things would be an issue would be if they were used in such a way as to compromise someone using the service – and it’s pretty hard to see what these circumstances might be.’
Dorset PTC recommends that waiting areas are kept clutter-free, saying that ‘There is no specific requirement for practices to remove magazines within a specified period. However, practice owners, as part of a regular cleaning schedule, should ensure that the magazines are in good condition and free from obvious contamination. This advice will be kept under review and may be modified in the event of any future community infection outbreak.’