UK - Saving lives

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 21 March 2008




(2008), "UK - Saving lives", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 21 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

UK - Saving lives

Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 21, Issue 2.

UKSaving lives

Keywords: Infection control, Patient safety, Saving lives

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ordered a deep clean of hospitals to tackle the spread of infections such as the MRSA “superbug”.

Hospitals will be returned to the state of cleanliness they were in at the time of their opening, the PM said.

Mr Brown added that day-to-day cleaning was insufficient to solve all health problems. He said: “We know that over time, ingrained cleanliness problems build up, especially in hard-to-reach places like ceilings and ventilation ducts, which cannot be dealt with by day-to-day cleaning.

“So over the next year, for the first time, every hospital will receive a deep clean designed to return our hospitals to the state they were in when they were built brand new”.

Some NHS trusts are already carrying out stricter cleaning regimes.

Professor Christine Beasley, Chief Nursing Officer at the Department of Health, issued a statement on the way forward.

“Healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) impact on the high quality of care we all strive to provide for patients. Infection is a significant cause of harm and can result in patient suffering, unnecessary pain, anxiety or possible death. Many HCAIs are avoidable and everyone can contribute to reducing their burden.

“HCAI also impacts on the efficiency of our services by increasing costs and reducing productivity. Infection costs the NHS around £1billion per year. Reducing infections like MRSA and Clostridium difficile is a Government and health service priority and although progress is being made, there is still much more we can do.

“Two years ago Saving Lives was launched. This was based on the evidence and information available at that time. Although the clinical evidence base has not changed significantly the Department has continued to work with many experts and organisations to build on the information and experience in order to increase the overall understanding of what is required to achieve sustainable reductions in HCAI.

“Implementing the Code of Practice for Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections (Health Act 2006) is also now a legal requirement for acute hospitals and other care providers. The Code of Practice states that “effective prevention and control of HCAI has to be embedded into everyday practice and applied consistently to everyone”. Saving Lives: reducing infection, delivering clean and safe care provides the tools and resources for Trusts to achieve this.

“Organisations that have succeeded in reducing infections have demonstrated organisation-wide strategies that assure robust implementation of infection prevention and control policies. They have systems in place to monitor the effectiveness of the clinical process and understand the benefit of using compliance and infection data to focus their improvement work at high risk areas.

“The updated tools, endorsed by the Healthcare Commission and other organisations, bring together the learning from the last two years, placing this into a framework that will enable organisations to demonstrate compliance with the duties of the Code of Practice.

“Saving Lives: reducing infection, delivering clean and safe care includes a revised assessment and action planning tool based on the Duties contained within the Code. The High Impact Interventions (HIIs) based on a ‘care bundle’ concept, integrate the latest evidence-based guidelines and provide a means for staff to measure compliance to key clinical procedures.

“These tools set the framework for organisation-wide improvement on infection rates. They are designed to help Trusts ensure that every patient receives the right care, every time”

For more information:

Related articles