Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections

Following a referral from the Department of Health, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), in partnership with the Health Protection Agency (HPA), have developed this quality improvement guide. The guide offers advice on management or organisational actions to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) in secondary care settings.

The guide is aimed at board members working in (or with) secondary care. It may also be of use to senior managers, those working elsewhere in the NHS, as well as those working in local authorities and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors.

In producing this guide, NICE and the HPA have assumed that all secondary care settings are compliant with the current code of practice on preventing and controlling infections[1].
The guide aims to help build on advice given in the code and elsewhere to improve the quality of care and practice in these areas over and above current standards. Taken together, the quality improvement statements contained in this guide describe excellence in care and practice to prevent and control HCAIs. Examples of evidence and other data to demonstrate progress against each statement are provided.

NICE and the HPA recognise that a range of factors associated with infection prevention and control have the potential to impact on health inequalities (for example, in relation to age, ethnicity, gender and disability). However, the relative impact of different factors will vary for different organisations. NICE and the HPA expect trusts and other secondary care organisations to consider local issues in relation to health inequalities when implementing this guide.

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