The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in Ireland has issued, for public consultation, draft national standards for the prevention and control of infections in health and social care settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes and hospices.
The standards, developed by the Health Information and Quality Authority with the input of an expert advisory group, will provide a national framework to improve the performance of healthcare settings in order to reduce healthcare associated infections.
Twelve Infection Prevention and Control Standards have been published which address issues including governance and management; hand hygiene; device related infections, antibiotic resistance, staffing, the physical environment and disease control.
Jon Billings, Director of Healthcare Quality at The Health Information and Quality Authority said; “Infection control is one of the most effective interventions in hospital practice. It helps safeguard patients while reducing costs on the system. Healthcare associated infections are largely preventable, but it requires a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach across the healthcare setting with a culture of hygiene embedded within the organisation.
“Ireland is not alone it its fight against healthcare associated infections – they are a serious concern in every country across the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) for example, estimates that at any given point in time 1.4 million people around the world will have a healthcare associated infection. In Ireland alone the number of MRSA bloodstream infections was 526 in 2007, a drop from 572 in 2006 (HPSC).
“These standards are not just about checking hospitals on an annual basis, but should be the benchmark which all of us, providers and users, expect from our hospitals on a daily basis. That is why we are giving everyone with an interest in this area, the chance to comment.” said Billings.
These are important draft standards and everyone has a right to have their view considered. Therefore, the Authority is now consulting with interested parties and the general public on the draft National Standards for Infection Prevention and Control. Information collected from this consultation will be used to inform the development of the final set of standards which will be launched later this year.