Dave Rudge argues that the UK could learn from the Netherlands’ holistic approach to infection prevention and highlights the need for further studies to provide high-quality data on the role of the environment in transmission.
There has been an ongoing debate within clinical settings about the reasons for, and the factors contributing to, the spread of healthcare-acquired infections (HCAIs) in the UK. The simple answer is that we must have a more holistic approach to infection control rather than relying on single-measure strategies and we must acknowledge the various complexities that are associated with HCAIs.
An increase in HCAIs over the years has forced Trusts to be more aware of how infections spread, resulting in an increase in surface disinfection and ward cleanliness. The COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the global population over the last year and a half is a demonstration of the importance of infection prevention.
HCAIs have been a common feature of previous novel coronavirus outbreaks1 and research2 has shown that 11% of patients with COVID-19 in 314 hospitals over the most recent pandemic became infected after hospital admission, demonstrating that HCAIs are still a core feature of outbreaks. COVID-19 can persist on surfaces, which may be why there was a sharp rise in HCAIs as Trusts were under extreme pressure.
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