Standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians

12. Ensure a safe environment for your patients

  1. Ensure that a safe environment is provided to deliver care to your patients, and take appropriate action if this is not the case (see standard 11). In particular:
    1. Be aware of and comply with health and safety legislation.
    2. Ensure that the environment and equipment that you use is hygienic.
    3. Ensure that equipment that you use has been appropriately maintained.
    4. Follow the regulations on substances hazardous to health.
    5. Dispose of controlled, clinical and offensive materials in an appropriate manner.
    6. Minimise the risk of infection by following appropriate infection controls including hand hygiene.
  2. Have adequate professional indemnity insurance and only work in practices that have adequate public liability insurance. This includes the following:
    1. If insurance is provided by your employer, you must confirm that adequate insurance is in place.
    2. If you work in multiple practices, you must ensure that there is adequate insurance to cover each working environment.
    3. Your professional indemnity insurance must provide continuous cover for the period you are in practice.
    4. Your professional indemnity insurance must cover complaints that are received after you stop practising, as these might be received years later – this is sometimes referred to as ‘run-off’ cover.
  3. Ensure that when working in the home of a patient or other community setting, the environment is safe and appropriate for the delivery of care.
  4. In an emergency, take appropriate action to provide care, taking into account your competence and other available options. You must:
    1. Use your professional judgement to assess the urgency of the situation.
    2. Provide any care that is within your scope of practice which will provide benefit for the patient.
    3. Make your best efforts to refer or signpost the patient to another healthcare professional or source of care where appropriate.