Infection Prevention and Control

Infection Prevention and Control

infectionInfection Prevention and Control is a top priority at the Royal Surrey County Hospital and all staff are committed to reducing infection rates.  We have made huge progress in the past few years and have seen significant reductions in our rates of both MRSA bacteraemia (blood stream infection) and Clostridium difficile cases.

The risk of gett03-rates-of-mrsaing an infection whilst in hospital is low, but this does not mean there is room for complacency. Our Director of Infection Prevention and Control (DIPC) is Medical Director Dr Christopher Tibbs.  We have a dedicated infection prevention and control multi-disciplinary team of nurses, doctors and pharmacists.

Tackling infection forms part of all job descriptions and appraisals and all staff have their part to play in helping us to reduce our rates of infection.

Regular reports are provided to the Trust board of directors and all cases of MRSA bacteraemia and hospital apportioned Clostridium difficile cases are investigated to ensure that the cause of the infection is known and measures are put in place to prevent recurrence.

Role of Infection Prevention & Control Team

01-MRSA-2004-2015If you have any concerns you wish to discuss about infection prevention and control please contact  the Ward Sister, Charge Nurse or Matron.

The Team not only aim to provide day to day advice for health care staff on matters relating to infection prevention and control, but also place great emphasis on education and the provision of policies and procedures which aim to prevent the spread of infection within the hospital. We regularly carry out audits of infection control practices utilising the audit processes recommended in the Department of Health’s audit programme. The team are also responsible for the management and control of any outbreaks of infection which occur within the hospital.

Tackling Infection How are we tackling infection?

All of our staff are working hard to make sure that our patients are as safe as possible and that their risk of infection is reduced to an absolute minimum.

  • Good hand hygiene plays a major role and we regularly carry out hand hygiene training and audits to ensure that staff are cleaning their hands appropriately. All clinical staff must be ‘bare below the elbows’ in clinical areas.
  • Environmental cleaning is monitored regularly: –
  • meetingsRegular infection control education sessions are provided for all staff
  • All healthcare associated infections are monitored closely.  MRSA blood stream infections (bacteraemias) and Clostridium difficile infections are assessed and analysed to try to prevent further infections occurring.
  • When a patient is diagnosed with an infection, whenever possible, they are cared for in a single room to help prevent the spread of infection.


What can you do to help?

What can you do to help us?

  • Keeping your hands and body clean is important when you are in hospital; make sure that you bring toiletries, including soap, into hospital with you.
  • Do not share or borrow toiletries.
  • Please wash your hands – especially before eating and after using the toilet.  There are sinks available in all patient areas and alcohol sanitiser at the end of the beds.  If there is no alcohol sanitiser at the end of your bed or the bottle is empty, please inform the nursing staff.
  • reportsWear slippers when walking around the wards.  This keeps your feet clean so that bacteria or other germs cannot be transferred from your feet to the bed.
  • Please do not sit on other patients’ beds – this provides an ideal opportunity for bacteria to spread.
  • Help us with our cleaning by keeping your locker top and bed table free of clutter to assist the housekeepe
  • If you see any dirt, dust or mess either around your bed or in the toilets or bathrooms please inform a member of staff.
  • Please tell staff immediately if your dressing becomes loose or wet or a wound or intravenous drip site becomes sore or painful.
  • If a member of staff needs to examine you, please do not be afraid to ask them if they have washed their hands or used the sanitising rub.  If they are wearing gloves you can ask if they have changed them since examining the last patient.  If you do not feel able to do this please tell the ward sister or matron.
  • Please ask staff whether equipment has been cleaned between use e.g., blood pressure machine.
  • Ask visitors to avoid coming to see you if they are suffering from a cold, diarrhoea or vomiting, have a fever, a rash or any other infection.



  • Please avoid visiting a patient if you have any signs of infection e.g., diarrhoea, vomiting (within the last 48 hours), fever, a cold, rash or skin infection.
  • Use the sanitising rub provided at ward entrances and at the end of the bed.
  • If you are visiting a patient with an infection then always check with ward staff that it is okay to do so and what you can do to reduce the spread of the infection. You should clean your hands before entering and on leaving the isolation room.
  • Please do not use the patients’ toilets, there are separate public toilets available for your
  • Please do not sit on the beds.
  • Please do not bring or send flowers to patients.
  • If children are visiting, please ensure they are supervised at all times so that they do not touch equipment or dressings. Please do not bring children under 10 years old without prior discussion with the nurse in charge. It is not recommended to bring babies under 1 year old into the hospital environment.

Tackling Infection How are we tackling infection?

All of our staff are working hard to make sure that our patients are as safe as possible and that their risk of infection is reduced to an absolute minimum.

  • Good hand hygiene plays a major role and we regularly carry out hand hygiene training and audits to ensure that staff are cleaning their hands appropriately. All clinical staff must be ‘bare below the elbows’ in clinical areas.
  • Environmental cleaning is monitored regularly: –


Patients and Relatives/Friends Bringing Food into Hospital

The wards do not have provision to store patient food.  Any food brought in must be consumed on the day and a disclaimer form completed.

Acceptable foodstuffs are:

  • Fresh fruit, washed.
  • Pre-packaged biscuits, chocolate, confectionery and cake
  • Pre-packed commercial sandwiches – which do not contain items from the unacceptable list
  • Canned and small bottles of soft drink
  • Tinned food products that do not require heating
  • Individual packets of snacks e. crisps and popcorn

Unacceptable foods

  • Takeaway foods
  • Food past its sell by / best before dates
  • Raw, undercooked or inappropriately thawed meat
  • Raw fish / shellfish e.g. Sushi and sashimi
  • Raw or undercooked animal produce e.g. pate, eggs, unpasteurised dairy products (milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt)


Infections:  the facts

Infections at Royal Surrey

Infections that occur in a hospital or healthcare environment are called healthcare associated infections (HCAI).  The most well-known cause of HCAI is Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a type of bacteria that can cause infection when it gets in a patient’s wound, lungs or bloodstream, but it is normally sensitive to an antibiotic called meticillin and related antibiotics such as flucloxacillin. MRSA is a particular type of SA which is resistant to this group of antibiotics.

Another well-known HCAI is caused by Clostridium difficile or C. difficile for short. This causes an infection of the bowel, which then causes patients to have diarrhoea. It’s something that is more likely to affect elderly patients who have been taking antibiotics.

All staff at RSCH are working hard to try to ensure that healthcare associated infections are reduced so that the risk to patients is minimised.

Click on the links to learn more about:



Working together to reduce HCAI

Norovirus Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Glycopeptide Resistant Enterococci (GRE)

Extended Spectrum Beta-lactamase (ESBL)

Who gets these infections?

At any one time, around 6% of all patients in hospitals across the country have a HCAI.

What causes infection?

Infection can happen when bacteria enter part of the body at a place where they are not meant to be, eg, they can enter:

  • through a wound or cut (including a cut made during an operation);
  • through a medical device that is inserted into the body – such as a drip into a vein or a catheter into the bladder;
  • when we breathe (in the same way as when you catch a cold);
  • when we swallow them, if the bacteria are on our fingers or in food – which can then result in food poisoning.

Why does infection happen in a healthcare environment?

Healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) can occur in any healthcare environment including acute hospitals, outpatient departments and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.  These infections happen because people who are in healthcare facilities are usually more vulnerable to infection due pre-existing disease, surgical procedures, medical treatments, indwelling medical devices (e.g., urinary catheters, intravenous infusions, implants) or a weakened immune system due to disease or  treatment. As people age and become frail they also become more likely to pick up infections.  Patients can also come into hospital with pre-existing infection.

How can I prevent it happening to me or others?

Please see ‘what you can do to help us’, Patient’ section

What if I get an infection?

If you get an infection staff will advise you what you and they will do to treat the symptoms and help you recover. This may mean that you are moved to a side room or that staff will wear aprons and or gloves when treating you. This is to prevent other patients getting the infection. Hand hygiene is paramount.

Can I still have visitors?

Yes, visitors are still allowed. MRSA or other antibiotic resistant infections don’t normally harm healthy people.

Please see ‘what you can do to help us’, Visitors section.

Where can I find more information on this or similar issues?

There are lots of different sources of advice. You can ask a nurse or doctor on the ward who will be able to answer your questions.

You can also visit or contact NHS Choices by phoning 111.



©2017 Royal Surrey County Hospital

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