New Infection Control Standards

HIQA has published new national standards for public acute hospitals to protect patients and staff from acquiring and spreading healthcare-associated infections.

HIQA’s revision of the National standards for the prevention and control of healthcare- associated infections in acute healthcare services outlines 29 standards that reflect up-to-date infection prevention and control best practice, with the objective of reducing healthcare -associated infections.

Speaking at Infection Prevention Control Ireland’s annual conference last week, Phelim Quinn, Chief Executive Officer of HIQA said “These new national standards are a revision of the 2009 National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections, and they incorporate the learning from HIQA’s programme of inspections against these standards across Irish hospitals”.

The standards cover eight themes, a number of which have been strengthened including communication with the patient; local, regional and national governance structures; and workforce training. New standards include risk management, decontamination of equipment and health and well being of patients. All the standards are outcome-based, meaning that each standard provides a specific outcome for the service to meet.

“A significant proportion of healthcare associated infections are known to be avoidable, if effective structures, systems and processes are in place to manage the potential risks. It is imperative that hospitals have the necessary resources in place to enable successful infection prevention and control efforts. These Standards will apply to public acute hospitals funded by the HSE and are designed to promote a safe and effective infection prevention and control culture within acute services.”

On average 1 in 20 people are affected by healthcare-associated infections within an acute healthcare service setting.

HIQA said preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections continued to be a significant challenge throughout the world. “Therefore, it is critically important that all hospitals continue their best efforts to fully comply with the revised standards in line with relevant legislation and that they prioritise areas for improvement. Senior management in the hospitals and in the HSE are accountable for implementing the National Standards.”