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Infection Control

Infection Prevention & Control

All NHS organisations must ensure that they have systems in place to minimise healthcare associated infections and ensure that adequate resources are in place to protect patients, their relatives, staff and visiting members of the public from the risk of infection when they attend our sites and when they use our services.   The Trust must comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008: Code of practice on the prevention and control of infections, known as the Hygiene Code (updated 2022).     

The Trust has a dedicated Infection Prevention & Control Team which is headed by the Director of Infection Prevention & Control who is also the Chief Nurse.  There is a Consultant Medical Microbiologist who is the dedicated Infection Control Doctor and a team of Infection Prevention & Control Specialist Nurses, who are all committed to preventing and minimising the spread of infection at our Trust.  This includes:

  • Constantly improving practice to reduce the incidence of infections that could be acquired in hospital
  • Surveillance of infections that occur with support for frontline staff so they can take action to ensure the patient is nursed appropriately for their needs and to prevent spread of infection
  • Education and training for staff via the Trust’s mandatory training programme and bespoke training for specific groups of staff when the need arises
  • Producing Infection Prevention & Control policies in line with national guidelines which are available to staff via the Trust’s intranet
  • Audit of policies in practice to ensure compliance with best practice and the Hygiene Code

The Infection Prevention & Control Team bases much of its advice on the National Infection Prevention & Control Manual for England which can be found here: C1691-National-infection-prevention-and-control-manual-v-2-3-28102022.pdf (england.nhs.uk)

Trust Annual Infection Prevention & Control Annual Report

The Director of Infection Prevention & Control produces an annual report of Infection Prevention & Control performance and activity.  The report for 2021-22 can be found here: Infection Prevention and Control Annual Report 2021 2022

How you can help us

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is the single most important and effective action to take that reduces the spread of pathogens and prevents infection from occurring.  Conducting hand hygiene at the right time, using the right technique, with either alcohol-based hand rub or sanitiser, or soap and water is critical.  The NHS provides the following video on the best way to wash your hands:      

How to wash your hands – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

When you visit our sites, you are also encouraged to use the sanitiser stations which are situated at the entrance to wards and departments.   Our staff are required to clean their hands before and after direct patient contact, before an aseptic task, after exposure to blood or body fluids and after contact with a patient’s immediate surroundings. They are also required to clean their hands when entering and leaving the hospital and ward areas.  We will always welcome and support patients and visitors to challenge our staff if they see them not cleaning their hands appropriately.         

Not feeling well?

Please don’t visit the hospital to visit your relatives or friends if you are unwell with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting in the last 48 hours, or if you have symptoms of influenza (flu).

Norovirus

 

Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common stomach bug in the UK.  It is highly contagious and can affect people of all ages and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.  It can cause outbreaks in hospitals.

The main symptoms of Norovirus are:

  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Being sick (vomiting)

You may also have:

  • A high temperature
  • Headache
  • Aching arms and legs and generally feeling unwell

Treatment:

  • You can usually treat yourself or your family member at home
  • The most important thing to do is to rest and take fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated
  • You will usually start to feel better in 2 to 3 days

How to limit the spread of Norovirus:

  • Stay at home and get plenty of rest. Don’t return to work, visit the hospital to see relatives or friends, or send children back to school until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water. Alcohol hand sanitisers don’t kill Norovirus
  • Use bleach-based household cleaners to disinfect household surfaces and commonly used objects and remember to include touchpoints such as light switches, remote controls, and when cleaning toilets, include the flush mechanism
  • Don’t cook or prepare meals for other people
  • Wash contaminated bedding and clothing on the hottest temperature the fabric can withstand

Flu during winter (influenza) 

The flu vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu so please have yours if you are entitled to a flu vaccine.  It can also be purchased for a small fee from some high street pharmacies.

Please help us to protect our patients and staff by not attending A&E or visiting relatives or friends if you are unwell with flu like symptoms.

Flu symptoms:

  • A sudden high temperature
  • An aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • A dry cough
  • A sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Feeling sick and being sick

The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get earache and be less active.

Pharmacists can help with flu and can offer treatment advice and flu remedies.       

Team

We have a team of specialists who are dedicated to fighting infections, and making sure they are properly isolated.  The team includes microbiologists, specialist nurses, pharmacists, scientists and data analysts.

Services

In line with national guidance, we carry out MRSA testing on all inpatients and emergency admissions. If the test shows you are carrying MRSA you will be told as soon as possible. This does not mean that you are infected – only that you are carrying it on your skin.

Your surgeon may decide to delay your operation to see if you can be cleared of MRSA. However, in many cases the surgery will carry on as normal but you will be asked to take some treatment for a few days before the operation. This involves applying an ointment to the inside of your nose (where the germs tend to gather first), and showering and shampooing your hair with an antiseptic soap.

When you are admitted for your operation you may be nursed in a single room. Alternatively you may be placed in a ward (or part of a ward) with other patients who have tested positive for MRSA. This allows us to contain and control the germs, and prevent them from spreading.

In addition to preventing the spread of MRSA, we work hard to prevent the spread of other conditions, including chest infections, urinary infections, or infected wounds.

Our efforts to control the spread of infections also include:

  • Promoting hand hygiene among all staff, patients and visitors. Hand wash sinks are available throughout wards and departments
  • Alcohol gel/sanitiser dispensers are available at the bedside and in all clinical areas. We encourage all staff, patients and visitors to clean their hands regularly with this.
  • We use strict quality control measures to ensure the food served to our patients is of the highest standard.
  • Making sure that visitors make use of the chairs provided, rather than sitting on patient beds.

Contacts

For more information please call the Infection Prevention and Control team on: 0121 507 5900, or alternatively contact our lead nurse or doctor below:

David Shakespeare
Deputy Director for Infection Prevention and Control
dshakespeare@nhs.net

Dr Mark Li
Consultant Microbiologist and Infection Prevention and Control Doctor
mark.li@nhs.net

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