HIQA publishes revised national standards for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in acute healthcare services

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published new national standards for public acute hospitals to protect patients and staff from acquiring and spreading healthcare-associated infections.

HIQA’s revision of the National standards for the prevention and control of healthcare- associated infections in acute healthcare services outlines 29 standards that reflect up-to-date infection prevention and control best practice, with the objective of reducing healthcare -associated infections. Healthcare-associated infections are infections such as surgical site infection, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, bloodstream infection and gastroenteritis.

Speaking at Infection Prevention Control Ireland’s annual conference today, Phelim Quinn, Chief Executive Officer of HIQA said “These new national standards are a revision of the 2009 National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections, and they incorporate the learning from HIQA’s programme of inspections against these standards across Irish hospitals”.

The standards cover eight themes, a number of which have been strengthened including communication with the patient; local, regional and national governance structures; and workforce training. New standards include risk management, decontamination of equipment and health and well being of patients. All the standards are outcome-based, meaning that each standard provides a specific outcome for the service to meet.

Phelim Quinn continued “Healthcare associated infections can have a huge impact on patients and their families, causing serious illness, long-term disability and more seriously death. There are also significant impacts on acute services due to cost implications of healthcare associated infections such as prolonged patient stays, isolation requirements and ward closures.

“A significant proportion of healthcare associated infections are known to be avoidable, if effective structures, systems and processes are in place to manage the potential risks. It is imperative that hospitals have the necessary resources in place to enable successful infection prevention and control efforts. These Standards will apply to public acute hospitals funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and are designed to promote a safe and effective infection prevention and control culture within acute services.”

On average 1 in 20 people are affected by healthcare-associated infections within an acute healthcare service setting. Preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections continues to be a significant challenge throughout the world. Therefore, it is critically important that all hospitals continue their best efforts to fully comply with the revised standards in line with relevant legislation and that they prioritise areas for improvement. Senior management in the hospitals and in the HSE are accountable for implementing the National Standards.



For further information, please contact:

Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement

01 814 7480 / 086 244 7623 mwhelan@hiqa.ie


Notes to editor:

  • These Standards do not apply to primary and community health and social care services. Service providers in these settings will continue to use the 2009 Standards while new Standards are being developed for these areas.
  • The Health Act 2007 gives HIQA the statutory responsibility for monitoring compliance with the National Standards. Since 2012, HIQA has engaged in a rolling programme of inspections against these Standards in order to promote improvement in infection prevention and control practices across Irish hospitals.
  • The new standards stem from a review of international and national standards, guidelines, recommendations, policies, national reports and expert opinion. HIQA also held focus groups with patients, healthcare professional representative organisations, inspectors and front-line hospital staff.
  • A national public consultation on a published draft of the revised standards was carried out during an eight-week period from 10 October to 2 December 2016.