Infection prevention and control: it’s everyone’s business

Date: 30 November 2016

Infection prevention team
Members of the Infection Prevention team

All staff, including porters, nurses, pharmacists and doctors, as well as patients and the public, have a role to play in this area. Two key steps in effective infection prevention and control are good hand hygiene and the safe, appropriate use of antibiotics. As Dr Workman explains, ‘It is now recognised that antimicrobial resistance is a major challenge to health globally and in the UK. Staff, patients and the public each have a role in tackling this problem by becoming infection prevention control and antibiotic guardians. Infection prevention and control and antimicrobial resistance are two elements of the same problem. In practice this means that, throughout your shift, you need to clean your hands between every patient contact to get rid of the harmful or resistant bacteria that stick to hands. To prevent emergence of resistant bacteria, healthcare practitioners have a duty to review antibiotics given to patients in hospital on a daily basis and stop it as soon as it is safe to do so. Our team are available to provide support to clinicians to help them with this.’

Kath Lawson-Hughes, Head of Infection Prevention and Control, leads education and awareness for patients, the public and staff. Kath’s image, in the form of a hologram, welcomes each person arriving at the main entrance of the hospital with a reminder to use the hand-washing stations. Kath plays a key role in helping staff to understand that, as she puts it, ‘infection control is everyone’s business.’

Most recently, the Trust has launched the Microguide, a smartphone app that contains the hospital’s antibiotic guidelines. ‘The Microguide provides updated advice and guidance on antibiotic use for specific conditions in a user-friendly tool,’ said Kath. ‘This, in addition to the induction programme, and our ongoing support and advice to everyone in the Trust, is helping us ensure we are doing all we can to keep our patients safe from infection and resistant bacteria.’

  • Summary:

    All staff, including porters, nurses, pharmacists and doctors, as well as patients and the public, have a role to play in infection prevention.