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NHS Kernow’s website closed on 30 June 2022. Visit the NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board website for information about our health and care services.

Infection prevention and control

Our infection prevention and control programme is led by our nurse consultant director of infection prevention and control.

What is infection prevention and control?

Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) can occur as a result of healthcare or contact with healthcare environments. HCAIs 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. They 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 HCAI as a result of care within the NHS. The prevalence in hospitals in England in 2011 was 6.4%.


Close collaboration with local acute and community trusts as well as neighbouring trusts and commissioners ensures monitoring and improvement is shared.

Commissioning expectations

We expect 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.

Get information

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall Council public health team are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

Useful links:


Our local hospitals all have their own infection prevention and control teams and details of their work can be found at the links below:

We engage with the infection prevention and committees and/or steering groups of these organisations.

Expectations specific to infection prevention and control are embedded within our contracts with providers and evidence of compliance is checked every month.

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