Infection Prevention and Control at the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust incorporating community services in Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon
The prevention of infection is a high priority for the Trust. This is because it is vital to the safety and quality of care that patients receive when they use our services.
The Trust is committed to ensuring the provide care that is consistent with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Code of Practice on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance (known as the Hygiene Code).
The Trust has declared our compliance with the Hygiene Code to the Care Quality Commission who have a duty to inspect our organisation against this standard.
There is a dedicated Infection Prevention & Control Team who provide expert guidance within the Trust, but it is the responsibility of all staff to ensure that infection prevention practices are followed very carefully. At ward and department level the Trust has identified infection control link-practitioners who do spot-checks of hand hygiene and cleanliness along with their everyday work. Their work also helps the Trust audit clinical practices against best practice guidance. Patients and visitors can also play a part.
Hand hygiene (washing hands or using alcohol gel) is the single most important thing we can all do to stop the spread of infection. This is why you will find alcohol hand gel where care is carried out, e.g at every bedside, and you may also see staff in hospital and community settings carrying personal gel dispensers.
Our hand hygiene strategy is based on the National Patient Safety Agency ‘cleanyourhands’ campaign and the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for hand hygiene in healthcare. Both these programmes recommend the placement of alcohol gel close to where patients are cared for. There are also a number of safety concerns associated with the provision of alcohol gel in unsupervised areas, so for these reasons we have chosen not to provide it in the main entrances of our hospitals.
For more information on how and when to wash your hands please follow this link
General principles for infection prevention and control
There are several areas of action that help reduce the spread of infections. These include:-
- Clean hands – using alcohol hand gel or soap and water
- Clean environment – keep the environment clean, tidy and in good repair
- Clean equipment – using clean and, where required, disinfected and sterile equipment
- Safe food – assured food hygiene practices
- Isolation – of infectious patients
- Screening and risk assessing patients for infection
Facts and Figures
The Department of Health requires all NHS Hospital Trusts to report on the number of cases of two important infections, MRSA bloodstream infections and Clostridium difficile diarrhoea. This ensures that the Department of Health can monitor reductions against limits that they set. Over recent years the number of these infections have decreased in response to our infection control programme. In 2011-12 the Trust performed well and was below the limits set for both of these infections.
The figures are published by the Health Protection Agency and can be accessed by clicking on the following link:
The information on infection control is reported at the monthly Infection Prevention & Control Committee, chaired by the Trust’s Nursing Director, which is where managers and clinicians report on progress. Information is also shared with the Trust Board so that they too understand what is happening and can take any action required to maintain clean safe care.
If you would like more information on the infection prevention and control please contact the IP&C department on 01271 311601