National evidence-based guidelines for preventing healthcare-associated infections in NHS hospitals

December 12, 2013

Camden, UK, December 12, 2013 - The Journal of Hospital Infection (JHI) has just released the awaited epic3 guidelines on infection prevention and control for a range of healthcare professionals. They are freely available online on ScienceDirect and on the journal's website.

The guidelines were commissioned by the UK Department of Health and have been developed after a systematic and expert review of all the available scientific evidence. They update and supersede the previous guidelines on this topic published in 2007.

Infection prevention and control came to the public awareness after the rise of MRSA and C. difficile in particular in the middle of the last decade. Since the publication of the 2007 guidelines, more resistant organisms have emerged, some of which are now almost untreatable by antimicrobials. This is actually no great surprise, as the development of resistance to antibiotics is an inevitable consequence of evolution- microbes have been producing chemical weapons to destroy each other since the dawn of life on earth. Resistance means survival. There are no really new antimicrobial agents under development, and for the first time, we are facing a world where more bacterial infections may be untreatable. Contrary to popular belief, we always had several treatment options available to treat MRSA.

Microbiologist Dr Jenny Child, Editor in Chief of The Journal of Hospital Infection, said "It is difficult to stop the rise of increasingly resistant organisms. What we can do however is prevent them spreading between patients and becoming established among the resident microbial flora- the bacterial population in our hospitals. Infection prevention and control has never been more important than it is now."

It is no coincidence that the very first of the seven key action points outlined in the UK 5-year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-1018, produced earlier this year by the DoH and DEFRA, is about improving infection prevention and control.

In her Forward to the epic3 Guidelines, which will accompany the January 2014 printed issue of The Journal of Hospital Infection, Professor Dame Sally Davies, NHS England's Chief Medical Officer, said, "In March 2013, my Annual Report on 'Infection and the rise of antimicrobial resistance' highlighted the need for healthcare professionals to understand and put into practice the principles of infection prevention and control in order to improve patient outcomes. These updated guidelines underpin and provide the knowledge base to inform this understanding".

"The guidelines provide the evidence base for many elements of clinical practice that are essential in minimizing the spread of antimicrobial-resistant organisms, and maintaining high standards of infection prevention and control that can be adapted for use locally by all healthcare practitioners. The principles set out in these guidelines also provide the evidence base to support elements of the implementation of the 5-year UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy," Davies added.

Lead author of the epic3 guidelines, Professor Heather Loveday of the University of West London explained, "The updated guidelines were developed by a nurse-led multidisciplinary group of researchers, infection prevention specialists, clinicians and lay representatives following a systematic review of evidence in each of the guideline areas. The guideline recommendations provide the best available scientific evidence for preventing healthcare infections in hospitals, focusing on standard principles for infection prevention and the prevention of infections associated with short-term indwelling urethral catheters, central vascular devices and new recommendations for preventing infections associated with peripheral vascular devices. Evidence-based guidelines are only of use when translated into local policy and protocols by infection prevention teams and implemented consistently by all healthcare professionals in order to reduce variation in patient care"
-end-
Foreward by Dame Sally C. Davies (doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0195-6701(13)00400-3)

"epic3: National Evidence-Based Guidelines for Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections in NHS Hospitals in England" by H.P. Loveday, J.A. Wilson, R.J. Pratt, M. Golsorkhi, A. Tingle, A. Bak, J. Browne, J. Prieto, M. Wilcox (doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0195-6701(13)60012-2)

This is published as a supplement to The Journal of Hospital Infection as Volume 86 Supplement1 2014 (S1-S70), published by Elsevier.

The supplement issue is available for free at:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01956701
http://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/supplements

Notes for editors

The supplement issue is available for free at:


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01956701
http://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/supplements

Journalists wishing to interview the authors may contact Professor Heather Loveday at +44 (0)20 8209 4110 or heather.loveday@uwl.ac.uk

About The Journal of Hospital Infection

The Journal of Hospital Infection is the official journal of the Healthcare Infection Society (HIS), and is published on its behalf by Elsevier Ltd. The Journal seeks to promote collaboration between the many disciplines in infection control in different countries resulting in multidisciplinary and international coverage of the latest developments in this crucial area. http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-hospital-infection

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and 25,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, Reaxys, ClinicalKey and Mosby's Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, helping research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media contact

Fiona Macnab
Elsevier
+44 20 7424 4259
f.macnab@elsevier.com

Elsevier

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