Infection control leading by example 2010 
Conference and debate held at The Barbican, London
3rd February 2010

Dr Peter Wilson, Consultant Microbiologist, Windeyer Institute of Medical Sciences, UCLH chaired the event held at The Barbican, London on 3rd February 2010.


Keynote Speaker Shadow Health Minister, Anne Milton MP presented "Healthcare Associated Infection: Learning from the Past; Preparing for the Future"   The Shadow Health Minister reviewed what has been done to combat healthcare associated infections, what has been the extent of its success, and what we should do to strengthen the fight against infections.  The lack of isolation facilities, need to carry out cleaning that is effective and high bed occupancy rates were discussed.  Some challenging questions on investment in resources and technology were put to the Shadow Health Minister, and commitment sought on renewed investment in infection prevention and control and microbiology, the NHS was facing budget cuts making working effectively even more important.  Assurances were sought on targets to reduce infections to an irreducible minimum, no commitment was given other than to say there would be a focus on outcomes rather than targets.


Dr Mark Porter Chairman of the BMA Central Consultants and Specialists Committee presented "Infection Control - Doing the Right Things"  Policy action on controlling healthcare associated infections needs to reconcile three objectives. The NHS needs to take effective action in a field where evidence of policy effectiveness is poor. Government needs to reassure patients and the public that effective action is being taken. Any action must proceed against the background of a substantial sunk investment in the built environment of healthcare facilities.  In pulling these together it was essential to act proportionately at all levels and focus on the scientific evidence.
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Professor Hugh Pennington MBBS, PhD, DSc, FRCPath, FRCP (Edin) FMedSci, FRSE
Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology, University of Aberdeen
"Microbes Evolve, We Forget"
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We attended the masterclass presented by Ian Pether whose company had developed Intensive Deep Clean Systems.  We took the opportunity to introduce ourselves as Ian has featured on NHS247 television with Derek.

The presentation was thought provoking and raised questions on the need for cleaning that is effective, and how this was something that all staff needed to be involved in. It was vital to be able to be sure that we were doing everything to keep the environment as clean as we can giving staff and patients confidence to deliver clean, safe care. The Deep Clean debate was interesting, it was very visible and fired the starting gun for drawing a line on accepting many of the appalling conditions in hospitals. However some hospitals had not followed the guidance on cleaning effectively, some had not deep cleaned but had spent money on the fabric of the building, and of course as soon as patients, staff and visitors return to the wards so does the bacteria.



The event culminated in the Panel Debate with Dr Peter Wilson, Vanessa Bourne, Dr Bharat Patel, Derek Butler, Professor Hugh Pennington
The panel focused on complacency in infection control. Although considerable reductions have been made in MRSA and Clostridium difficile infections a report by the Committee of Public Accounts has noted that trusts have not got to grips with other infections such as pneumonias and hospital acquired surgical site infections. With trusts hitting their targets and budgets being cut how can frontline staff cope with increased pressure and targets? How can we create a uniform system to bring all trusts to the same high quality standard? It was clear from the debate that there was still some way to go with some debate around the need for everyone to focus on making infection prevention and control their business.  Derek commented that everyone should regard themselves as an infection control nurse.


If you or someone you care about has been affected by a healthcare infection and you wish to discuss this with us, please contact us at