Patient safety and healthcare-associated infection


Intravenous literature: Cole, M. (2011) Patient safety and healthcare-associated infection. British Journal of Nursing. 20(17), p.1122-1126.


Healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) has become a major patient safety issue in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals. The UK has an HCAI prevalence rate of 8.2% which equates to an annual incidence of approximately 300000 patients (Hospital Infection Society, 2007). HCAI is a safety issue because it is associated with increased morbidity and mortality as well as increased healthcare costs (National Audit Office (NAO), 2009). In 2000, the NAO identified cultural change as a requirement if the NHS is to get a grip of infection prevention and control. This article has taken a ‘conceptual culture of safety model’ that has been previously described in the literature and applied it to the organization of infection control. It is clear that while there are many areas of good practice, in relation to infection prevention and control, there is still much to do if the NHS is to invoke the type of paradigm shift that will result in a mature sustainable safety culture.

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