Specialist Team Fights Infections; A New Infection Control Team Is the First of Its Kind in the North East. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

ASPECIALIST nursing team has been set up to help prevent and reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections in community care settings.

The new infection and prevention control team established by NHS South of Tyne and Wear, which includes Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland Teaching primary care trusts, is the first dedicated advisory service of its type in the North East and will work across the three areas.

In recent years the NHS has had significant success in reducing levels of healthcare-associated infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile and is now making the policies and expertise it has developed available to other local care organisations.

The team comprises of three locality co-ordinators - all qualified nurses - two staff nurses and three healthcare support workers.

They will be providing specialist infection prevention and control advice, audits, training and support to local nursing and residential home owners to ensure that the risk of infection to service users, staff and visitors is reduced.

The specialist service will also be gradually extended to other domiciliary and supported care organisations and facilities.

The team is managed by infection prevention and control specialist nurse Christine Johnson.

She said: "The provision of health and medical care in the community is growing and although the team has only been set up very recently, we've already had a very positive response from the local care home sector.

"We hope to be able to share good practice being applied in NHS healthcare settings into the broader community so that families and carers can be assured that the care their relatives and dependants are receiving is being provided in a clean and safe environment."

Infection can be a major cause of illness among care home service users.

Naomi Kelly, Modern Matron, with NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said: "Infection prevention is a top priority for everyone and we would stress that this does not reflect in any way on the standards of infection prevention and control currently being applied in local care homes. …

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