Invitation to Baxter Healthcare Infection Control Roundtable Discussion, London

10 November 2015

Derek Butler was invited to attend a roundtable discussion on improving infection prevention and control and antimicrobial management within the NHS.

The round table meeting discussed ways of improving patient safety and developing new approaches to tackling antimicrobial resistance which are major NHS challenges that politicians and policymakers need to address. We are aware that the recent Berwick Report set out mechanisms for the NHS to embed safety at the heart of its culture and operations, to adopt a whole system approach to safety and infection management and deliver a 'zero harm' service.

The purpose of the roundtable was to have an opportunity to consider how the NHS should develop policies and approaches to tackling infection prevention and control and antimicrobial management which will help to improve patient safety and care quality.

Attendees included a range of stakeholders relevant to the debate including policymakers, commissioners, regulators and patient representatives. At the meeting several topics were highlighted for discussion, these were, incentives for the development of new antimicrobials, funding for new antimicrobials, new technologies to prevent infections, the collection of infection data and how to share and disseminate this data, medical education and training and sharing best practice.

One common theme that came across was that whilst we have collated huge amounts of data on infection rates over the past 7 years, and we have seen some hospitals reduce their infection rate immensely, other hospitals have not done as well and the question was asked why. Surely with all this information and if we were sharing best practice, other poor performing hospitals would look to those who have performed well and learnt from their experience.

The discussion also touched on the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance and the lack of the developments of new treatments and that we face the biggest threat to our health in the near future. The discussion turned to how we can turn things around, it was time to recognise that we need to look beyond healthcare for the answers to the problems we face with the demands on the NHS.

Everyone agreed that there needed to be a culture change within the NHS and within politics to give the NHS the chance to change and adapt to the future challenges it faces and that there will be more threats from other bacteria in the future.

The roundtable discussion will be written up into a short report designed to contribute to this important agenda of infection prevention and control and antimicrobial resistance.

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