HAIs are a recognised public health problem worldwide and significantly contribute to increased mortality and morbidity in the population. The additional costs arising from having to treat an HAI places a significant burden on healthcare resources. These costs are estimated in Scotland to be around £183 million. Multiple factors contribute to this increasing risk including an aging population, increasingly complex interventions as well as emerging threats such as multi-resistant micro-organisms which make treatment options very limited.
The risks associated with HAI can be significantly reduced by the use of Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs). SICPs are the basic infection prevention and control measures necessary to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious agent from both recognised and unrecognised sources of infection. The National Infection Prevention and Control Manual
(NICPM) was developed in 2012 to support frontline staff to do the right thing first time in terms of reducing the risk of HAI. However, it is important that staff are able to reliably implement these principles into their every day work within the complex healthcare system. The use of QI methodologies can support staff in terms of understanding the systems in which they work and how local changes can lead to sustained improvement.