Infection Control Legislation For Care Homes

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how this legislation relates to infection prevention and control in care homes.

Relevant Legislation for Care Homes

If you manage a care home, you have a legal obligation to implement stringent infection prevention and control policies and procedures.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 gives the Care Quality Commission powers to enforce best practice regulations in all health and adult social care sectors.

You can read the full wording of The Health and Social Care Act 2008 here.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 only applies to England. There are different legislations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We are focusing on the English legislation in this post because it provides an effective introduction to how the regulatory systems works in the UK.

Regardless of the specific legislation that might apply, your obligations are effectively the same:  If you don’t prioritise your residents’ health and wellbeing, regulatory bodies can and will take action against you.

What Are Regulated Activities?

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 defines a “regulated activity” as “an activity of a prescribed kind”.

“Prescribed activity” essentially refers to activity that “involves, or is connected with, the provision of health or social care in, or in relation to, England”.

Regulation of Regulated Activities

The Act gives the Secretary of State powers to “impose requirements … necessary to secure that services provided … cause no avoidable harm to the persons for whom the services are provided.”

This includes making provisions and imposing requirements as to the:

  • Fitness of premises.
  • Keeping of records and accounts.
  • Management and training of anyone who works for the purpose of carrying out the regulated activity.

And crucially, the Act outlines that regulations “may make provision for the prevention and control of health care associated infections and may include such provision as … appropriate for the purpose of safeguarding individuals … from the risk, or any increased risk, of being exposed to health care associated infections or being made susceptible, or more susceptible, to them.”

The Act also gives the Secretary of State powers to issue codes of practice relating to health care associated infections.

What Happens If You Don’t Meet Infection Control Regulations?

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 makes it clear that you have a legal obligation to meet any codes of practice relating to infection prevention and control. If you do not meet these regulations, the Care Quality Commission can take action against you.

This might include:

  • Issuing notices outlining improvements you must make, and by when you should make them.
  • Imposing conditions or restrictions on your practices for a given time.
  • Putting special measures in place to supervise your activities.
  • Holding you to account through issuing cautions, fines, or even through prosecution.

You can read some examples of instances where the Care Quality Commission has used its powers of prosecution.

How To Meet Your Infection Control Regulatory Requirements

We’ve put together a number of guides to help you ensure effective infection control in care homes:

We specialise in supporting healthcare settings, including care homes, in the delivery of effective infection prevention and control policies:

Want to talk about how we can help you meet your infection control regulatory requirements? Get in touch to talk to one of our friendly experts today.