Standards to combat Healthcare Associated Infections published

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority has today published new standards to combat the spread of Healthcare Associated Infections. The National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections provide direction for health and social care providers on how to minimise and prevent the occurrence of Healthcare Associated Infections. 

Speaking at the launch, Jon Billings, Director of Healthcare Quality and Safety, Health Information and Quality Authority, said: “The ongoing reduction in Healthcare Associated Infections is one of the most important challenges facing health and social care services, not just in Ireland but globally. A major cultural shift by all healthcare staff is required to help reduce the rates of these infections. The majority of the Standards are straightforward to implement, with the appropriate culture, changes in behaviour, effective planning, management and leadership.”

The 12 Standards cover issues such as governance and management; hand hygiene; medical device related infections; antibiotic resistance; staffing; the physical environment and disease control. They are designed to promote an environment that maximises patient safety, quality and accountability in health and social care services.

“Importantly, they drive a culture of responsibility and accountability among all staff involved in the management and delivery of health and social care services – all of whom must play their part in preventing and controlling these infections. The public and users of our services also have a significant role to play, through taking an active role in ensuring that they maintain personal diligence in hand hygiene and in challenging the implementation of these Standards from people providing care,” Jon Billings said.

The Standards will apply to all health and social care services in Ireland, including hospitals, community care services, GP and dental surgeries, primary care services and are applicable across all sectors – public, voluntary and independent.


Further Information: 

Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement 01 814 7480 / 086 2447 623

Notes to the Editor: 

Do the Standards have any statutory basis, and can the Authority enforce them? The Authority will monitor the implementation of these Standards and will incorporate issues in relation to HCAIs into our future quality assurance and licensing programmes. The Authority will advise the Minister for Health and Children and the Health Service Executive on its findings. The Authority will publish all of its findings on how organisations are complying with the Standards.

What will hospitals and healthcare facilities have to do immediately to ensure they are complying with these Standards? There will have to undertake an analysis of how they are currently complying or not complying with the Standards. This is called a “gap analysis”. They will also have to undertake a self-assessment exercise, and will be subject to regular review. Health and social care services will, under the Standards, have to draw up implementation plans to demonstrate how they are putting the Standards into effect in an organised and effective way.

Is the Authority now commencing talks with the HSE on the implementation of these Standards? From publication of the National Standards, there will be a six-month period to allow all services to consider the local implications of the National Standards and develop implementation plans. During this period, the Authority will engage with the HSE and other stakeholders to discuss the nature and scope of internal monitoring processes.