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Infection prevention and control

Infection prevention and control

At Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), we are committed to protecting patients, staff, carers and visitors by implementing evidence-based best practice for infection prevention and control in all of our activities.

There are robust structures and systems in place to educate and support our staff to comply with these processes, to maintain high standards and minimise the risk of transmission of avoidable infectious conditions.

The Trust employs two infection prevention and control nurses to develop and implement the infection prevention and control annual plan and audit programme and to provide advice to staff, patients and visitors. The aim of the infection prevention and control service is to promote a safe environment for staff, patients and visitors by ensuring infection prevention and control practices are followed to reduce the risk of infections.  The infection prevention and control team is supported by link staff that receive additional training to allow them to be a local resource for their teams. The infection prevention and control nurses work closely with these staff and also with domestic services to manage the environment and maintain high standards of cleanliness. In addition to the infection prevention and control team, Modern Matrons monitor and champion infection prevention & control as part of their role of ensuring a safe environment for patients, visitors and staff is maintained.

The Director of Infection Prevention and Control provides quarterly reports to the Board of Directors, and an Annual Report is produced each year to summarize activity and performance in relation to infection prevention and control. To read the latest report, see the Related documents section to the left.

NSFT takes responsibility for the prevention and management of infection very seriously. The Trust  monitors its compliance with Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration requirements with respect to infection prevention and control policies and procedures as specified in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Code of Practice in the prevention and Control of infections (July 2015). All NHS Trusts are required to have clear arrangements for the effective prevention, detection and control of healthcare associated infection. NSFT, in respect of carrying out its regulated activities, will, so far as reasonably practical, ensure that patients, healthcare workers and others who may be at risk of healthcare-associated infection are protected against identifiable risks of acquiring an infection.  

Information on the arrangements by which NSFT seeks to prevent and control infection risks for the delivery of high-quality care and to ensure the risks of healthcare-associated infection are minimised, the reporting mechanisms and systems to monitor compliance with key documents including the Code of Practice in the prevention and control of infections (July 2015) are outlined in the Assurance Framework (see the Related documents section to the left)  

How can you help us to fight infection? 

If there is an outbreak of infection in an area, for example of diarrhoea or vomiting, in order to protect yourself and reduce spread, please do not visit the area unless absolutely necessary.

If you are unwell, particularly with symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting, please do not visit any inpatient or clinic areas until you have been symptom free for 48 hours. Contact the clinic or ward directly for further advice about visiting or attending a clinic.

Hand Hygiene

The best way of preventing infection passing from one person to another is by cleaning our hands. We use posters to remind everyone about the importance of hand hygiene.  

Hand-washing advice for visitors

Please clean your hands on entry and exit from our inpatient wards to help prevent the spread of infection. Hand hygiene facilities are available for visitor use at the entrance to our wards. These facilities will be either a hand wash sink or hand sanitiser. We also provide posters to support effective hand hygiene techniques for hand washing with water and soap or when using hand sanitiser.    

Why should you wash your hands?

It prevents any germs being brought into the hospital ward environments from outside the hospital and being passed on to the patients or contaminating the clinical environment. Washing hands properly with soap and water can help protect not only patients but you, your family and others.

It's okay to ask if you think we have forgotten to clean our hands

Patients and carers should not be afraid to ask healthcare staff if they have cleansed their hands prior to provision of care or treatment. We encourage you to challenge staff if you feel they have forgotten to do this. Please ask a member of staff if you would like to clean your hands and have been unable to do so.

Help us fight flu by getting vaccinated

We offer vaccination to patients resident in our wards in the flu vaccination season who are unable to receive their vaccine with their GP and meet the national criteria as set by Department of Health each year. We actively promote vaccination uptake by all patients eligible to have a flu vaccine either as an inpatient or in the community.

We run an annual flu vaccination campaign for our staff, offering vaccination to all to protect both them and our patients from flu infection.

Please help the fight against flu infections by taking up the opportunity to be immunised if you are offered a flu vaccine.

Advice for patients
If you are a patient or you are going to be a patient and you have worries or concerns about any infection control issues, please speak to ward / clinical staff and if they are unable to help, please ask them to contact the Infection Control Team. 

Useful information on common infections can be found at Public Health England site and on the NHS Choices​ site.

Statement of compliance

The Trust has a number of infection prevention and control policies and procedural documents to support safe and effective care. Within this suite of documents is the NSFT policy for the screening of newly admitted patients for Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).   

All patients admitted to NSFT, whether on an elective or emergency basis, will have an assessment of risk to identify if they have clinical conditions in their physical health that may indicate a higher risk or susceptibility to developing MRSA infection. Those patients identified through this assessment, which is informed by Department of Health criteria, will be offered screening for MRSA, and any treatment required will be provided.

Our aim is to ensure that patients, their families and the wider communities we serve feel reassured by the positive steps we have taken to provide safe and effective healthcare.

If you have any questions about our MRSA screening policy or wider arrangements for the prevention and control of infection in NSFT, please contact the Infection Prevention and Control Team on 01603 421454 or email ipac@nsft.nhs.uk