Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) pose a serious risk to patients, staff and visitors in healthcare settings. These infections can incur major costs for the NHS and cause significant morbidity to those infected. Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a key priority for our members and the NHS.
Our strategy focuses on activities that support our members to overcome the challenges they face, and advance research that underpins excellence in clinical practice.
Our members save patient lives and are committed to professional excellence. They are the experts in HCAIs and IPC, and they champion clinical best practice. Our members influence the behaviour of their peers and they drive change, but they face significant challenges in their roles as healthcare professionals who are on the front-line of patient care.
Challenges faced by healthcare workers
- Patients may become ill or die unnecessarily from preventable infections acquired as a result of contact with a healthcare setting
- Adherence to IPC best practice in healthcare settings could be improved
- Reduced staffing levels, increasing patient numbers and clinical complexity are resulting in an increasingly heavy demand on microbiologists and HCAI specialists
- Antimicrobial resistance is hindering the effective treatment of infections
- Community care settings can have poor coverage of infection control specialists, and staff who are not familiar with IPC best practice
- Microbiology is underrepresented in undergraduate medical training, and the specialty struggles to recruit to postgraduate training programmes
- Changes to the postgraduate training curriculum have led to less exposure to IPC during training
- Trainees need to learn to make high level decisions under pressure, and this is only facilitated by greater experience and exposure
The Society's six strategic objectives for 2015-2019 are to
- Ensure that Healthcare Infection Society (HIS) is properly resourced to effectively fulfil its strategic objective and to enhance its existing governance procedures
- Promote and develop the science of IPC and to strive to ensure that clinical practice is consistent with latest scientific knowledge
- Ensure that the Journal of Hospital Infection (JHI) is the leading journal in its field
- Design and deliver a range of educational activities that will help equip healthcare professionals to prevent and control HCAIs
- Retain, enhance engagement with and increase membership
- Increase the numbers of people and organisations with whom HIS communicates and collaborates, particularly overseas.
Each objective has now either been achieved or significant progress has been made. The Society is currently developing an ambitious new strategy for 2020-2025 which will be circulated to members for consultation in January 2019.