With concerns regarding the impending Corporate Manslaughter Act becoming more prominent on board member’s and senior manager’s radar screens, it is fitting that this month’s issue of Health Care Risk Report (HCRR – Volume 14 Issue 3) should devote two articles to a ‘special report’ on infection control. The first, from Professor Hilary Pickles, director of public health, and director of infection prevention and control at Hillingdon PCT, looks at the substantial risk posed to patients and organisations by infection and ‘plots a course’ for the role of the risk manager. The second article is an account, by Pat Anderson, editor of HCRR, of an interview with the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) healthcare-associated infection policy lead – Ian Strudley. From a governance, as well as a risk management perspective, both articles are essential reading for board members and senior managers. For example, Ian Strudley re-affirms HSE’s position that matters of clinical judgment are outwith its remit, but asserts that HSE “will pursue investigations where patients and staff are put at risk because of poor systems of work.” And in the news section of this month’s HCRR there is a warning from the Health and Safety Executive that NHS trusts “must have a contingency plan outlining what will happen in the event of an outbreak of infection with an organism such as Clostridium difficile.”
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Declaration of interest: Stuart Emslie, editor of Healthcare Governance Review, is on the editorial advisory board of, and is a regular contributor to, Health Care Risk Report.