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Preventing and controlling hospital infection

Hospital infection guide - hospital corridor

With the ever-increasing pressure to meet targets in our national health services the prevention and control of HAIs in our hospitals remains a challenge but the government is developing a number of plans to overcome the problem.  In June 2007 the Health Care Commission (HCC) began a programme of unannounced inspections to 120 NHS trusts to check their compliance with the Hygiene Code.  The Hygiene Code, which came into force in October 2006, gives the HCC the authority to ensure that NHS Trusts are doing their utmost to reduce rates of healthcare-associated infections and it covers all areas of infection control to protect the safety of patients. 


From early 2007 the HPA (Health Protection Agency) began publishing quarterly figures for the mandatory surveillance of MRSA bloodstream infections and Clostridium difficile disease and is reporting these figures on a quarterly basis, along with an annual Healthcare Associated Infection report once a year.  According to the Department of Health, C. difficile has been part of the mandatory surveillance programme for healthcare associated infections since January 2004 and in hospitals various measures are in place to reduce the spread of infections such as increased hand washing by doctors and nurses, the use of alcohol-based hand rubs between patients to avoid transferring bacteria from one patient to the next, and hospital wards, corridors and surfaces being regularly cleaned, skin wounds covered with dressings.  The Department of Health has developed an MRSA/Cleaner Hospitals programme to support organisations and individuals in reducing healthcare associated infections with a Clean Safe Care web resource for healthcare staff. 


As with many other infections good hygiene is essential in helping to prevent the spread of MRSA and thorough hand washing and drying between caring for people is imperative in helping to reduce cross-infection. 


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