There is a statutory obligation for all national health service organisations under the code of practice for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections, to ensure that all staff are suitably educated in the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections. In addition, the Knowledge and Skills Framework includes health, safety and security as a core aspect of all jobs under "Agenda for Change". The Knowledge and Skills Framework makes clear that it is vital that each member of staff takes responsibility for promoting the health, safety and security of patients, clients, the public, colleagues and themselves. This would include reducing the risks of healthcare associated infections.
Skills for Health has developed competence frameworks and national occupational standards for healthcare staff in all sectors of the workforce. These include competencies and national occupational standards in infection prevention and control. More information on this can be found on the Skills for Health website at:
The Department is currently working together with partners in the Social Partnership forum, such as trade unions and employers, to develop and implement workforce policies in relation to tackling healthcare associated infections. This will include producing a guide this year for local employers on how Human Resources processes such as training, induction and disciplinary action can be best used to encourage good practice in infection control.
In addition, the Department is working with undergraduate and postgraduate deans, the General Medical Council, the Medical Royal Colleges and the Nursing and Midwifery Council to ensure that training in infection prevention and control is embedded at all stages of medical and nurse training.
There are a number of resources that are available to train staff in best practice in infection prevention and control. These include:
the NHS Infection Control programme, a free online resource funded designed to increase understanding of infection control practice in clinical and non-clinical staff this is available at: www.infectioncontrol.nhs.uk; the National Resource for Infection Control, a one-stop shop for infection control guidance which is available at: www.nric.org.uk; and online training for doctors on methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile which is available at: www.doctors.net.uk.