Healthcare associated infections - public and patient information campaign 

Learning and Sharing Event
18th March 2010, Royal Court Hotel, 


The NHS Institute and stakeholders are developing a campaign and an associated suite of resources that can be used to improve communications between members of NHS staff and patients/relatives about HCAIs, and influence broader public and patient attitudes.


The first event had focused on the design of the web portal to increase public knowledge and awareness of healthcare associated infections.


The second event coincided with the launch of the web portal on the NHS Choices Website  The charity was asked if there was an increase in traffic to our website, and this is something that we will keep under review.  We know that media coverage increases traffic and our busiest days are when there are high profile stories in the media relating to hospital inspections and reports of outbreaks of infections.  Universities and educational establishments use our website and web-pages are designed in response to keyword search analysis and telephone enquiries from the public.  Our website administrator will work in partnership with the Institute on developing more information.


Moving on from the online information and ability to interact with the NHS Choices website, other avenues of communication were explored.  Engaging with the wider community was a key theme, using established patient charities such as MacMillan Nurses, Bowel Cancer UK, Marie Curie, the Kidney Foundation, Diabetes UK, Age Concern was something that we as a charity would encourage and promote.  Universities, schools, colleges and educational establishments were an important resource, getting this into the curriculum linking with Healthy Schools campaigns and using E-bug as a resource to promote antibiotic awareness.  Businesses and the wider community for education on hand hygiene was felt to be of significant value.  Looking across the wider health economy making use of Social Care staff, those delivering Domiciliary Care and regulators, the Care Quality Commission, Care Homes were all important as the people working here are more likely to be in contact with recipients of healthcare.


The design of resource packs for healthcare staff to use to help them engage with patients and relatives had been drafted and we were able to contribute to ideas to help present patient scenarios.


Derek Butler and Maria Cann contributed to a video clip to promote the giving of information on MRSA, this was to be put into the context of a gentleman who had been diagnosed with cancer, if it's OK to discuss the cancer then it should be OK to discuss the positive screening for MRSA, something that was close to Maria's heart due to her mum having cancer when this was openly discussed, but the MRSA was at the time a shaded subject and something that no-one felt comfortable with.  Our patient stories still demonstrate a reluctance to discuss MRSA openly in some cases with two people contacting us this week with experiences of being upset by the lack of information on MRSA being available to them following screening.  In both cases we were able to help and tell them the right questions to ask to be able to ease the anxiety this had caused them.



One of the tasks of the participants in the event was to make an impassioned plea to encourage peers to become engaged and involved and to identify ways of grabbing attention.   Derek gave the feedback on behalf of the group representing patients and used the future generation and the need to preserve our antibiotics as an example of how to make people stop and think and engage them in playing an active role in preventing infections.  

At the first event Derek Butler gave an
overview on the patient and relative experience with a perspective on how to engage giving a key focus on what was needed to equip professionals with the skills and confidence to have conversations with patients about MRSA and healthcare associated infections.  
Derek will be speaking at East Midlands Strategic Health Authority's "Good Nurses deliver Good Care" giving the user view on what makes a good nurse to an audience of 100 matrons and sisters.  Catherine Holmes presented the emerging findings showing the fieldwork that had taken place since the national research into public perceptions of healthcare associated infections.


What happened since the last event?


A social movement approach designed to create engagement and real commitment generates ongoing energy and embeds new habits for lasting change.  It creates a cause and unites different audiences.  Media and tools are locally co-designed and implemented, spread is peer-to-peer and infectious focused on leveraging individual personal values.  This approach had been taken and work was ongoing to engage Strategic Health Authorities and NHS Trusts.


Janice Stevens addressed everyone on the work so far and the way forward, the work had been inspiring and Janice reminded everyone involved of a quote used by anthropologist Margaret Mead "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."




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