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Improving Infection Prevention and Control for the NHS

The prevention, management and control of healthcare associated infection is a priority area for each of the four UK governments.

The focus on reducing healthcare associated infections continues throughout the United Kingdom and requires action by all organisations involved within health and social care.

The introduction of patient safety improvement programmes across the UK has highlighted the role of healthcare associated infections as incidents that have an adverse effect on public safety and quality of care.

What this means for the workforce

Infection prevention and control is fundamental in improving the safety and quality of care provided to patients and is everyone’s responsibility. It is vital that all staff have the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills in order to continue to improve the overall safety and quality of patient care.


A project to identify the core competences for Infection Prevention and Control was carried out for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, supported by the government health departments and undertaken in collaboration with The Infection Prevention Society. It was chaired by Ros Moore, Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, on behalf of the UK Chief Nursing Officers. It identified National Occupational Standards which can be used to support the appraisal of staff, underpinning the Knowledge and Skills Framework where relevant, and to articulate the training and education required by all members of staff in relation to infection prevention and control. In addition, further resources can be found from:

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Some policies, strategies and guidance were developed under the previous government.