The NHSScotland Code of Practice for the Management of Hygiene and Healthcare Associated Infection - Introduction
Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) is a priority issue for NHSScotland and is equally important for healthcare services in the private, independent and voluntary sectors. For prevention and control of infection to work effectively, critical activities such as hand hygiene have to be embedded into everyday practice. All staff must transparently demonstrate good infection control and hygiene practice through ‘leadership by example’. There must be a culture of "Infection Control is everybody's business", with integration of best practice into routine activities: simply an understanding and belief that "this is the way we do things round here".
A major programme of work to improve the prevention and control of HAI across the NHS in Scotland was laid out in the Scottish Executive Health Department's Ministerial Action Plan on HAI. The Action Plan also detailed the formation of a Scottish HAI Task Force under the chair of the Chief Medical Officer.
One of the immediate priorities for the HAI Task Force was to develop an NHSScotland Code of Practice for the management of hygiene and HAI. An HAI Task Force working group was formed in 2003 to develop the Code of Practice. This multi-disciplinary working group included representation from NHS clinical and support services, members of the public, the non‑NHS care sector, including independent hospital representation and staff partners.
The Code of Practice
The Code of Practice defines local management powers and responsibilities for delivering safe clinical care through ensuring high standards of hygiene and HAI in the healthcare environment. It prescribes guidance on the management of hygiene and HAI in clinical settings, and also for support services, within NHSScotland. However, the principles underpinning this Guidance apply across all healthcare settings. The complete document can be accessed by clicking on the link below.