NHS Kernow's Infection Prevention and Control Programme is led by our Nurse Consultant Director of Infection Prevention and Control.
Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) can occur as a result of healthcare or contact with healthcare environments. Healthcare-associated infections arise across a wide range of clinical conditions and can affect people of all ages. They can worsen existing or underlying conditions, delay recovery and adversely affect quality of life. Healthcare-associated infections can occur in otherwise healthy people, especially if invasive procedures or devices are used. Healthcare workers, family members and carers are also at risk of acquiring infections when caring for people. A number of factors can increase the risk of acquiring an infection, but high standards of infection prevention and control practice, including providing clean environments, can minimise the risk.
It is estimated that 300,000 patients a year in England acquire a healthcare‑associated infection as a result of care within the NHS. The prevalence of healthcare-associated infections in hospitals in England in 2011 was 6.4 per cent (NICE 2014).
NHS Kernow expects the services we commission to comply with specific regulations. In relation to infection prevention and control the expectation is that services will be delivered as set out in The Health and Social Care Act 2008 Code of Practice on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance, more commonly known as The Hygiene Code.
All services registered with the Care Quality Commission are required to declare compliance with a specific standard relating to infection prevention and control and this relates directly to the Hygiene Code.
In addition to these standards there are additional annual improvement expectations relating to some infections. These are set by NHS England and included in our contracting processes.
Close collaboration with local acute and community trusts as well as neighbouring trusts and commissioners ensures monitoring and improvement is shared.
NHS Kernow holds a local Directors of Infection Prevention and Control Group which links NHS and independent providers with commissioners and public health professionals. This group feeds into our Governance and Assurance Committee as well as the local authority Health Protection Committee.