HCAI are infections that are acquired as a result of healthcare interventions. There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of acquiring an infection, but high standards of infection control practice minimise the risk of occurrence.
Image used with permission from Glasgow Caledonian University [external link].
Public Health England assists infection control and the control of antimicrobial resistance in the healthcare setting by monitoring these infections with mandatory and voluntary surveillance schemes covering bacteraemia (blood stream infections) caused by Staphylococcus aureus - both meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), E.coli and glycopeptide-resistant enterococcus(GRE) as well as Clostridium difficile infection (C. diff/CDI), surgical site infections (of which some orthopaedic categories are mandatory) via the surgical site infection surveillance scheme (SSISS). Other healthcare associated infections, including antimicrobial (antibiotic) resistant micro-organisms are also monitored via a voluntary microbiology laboratory reporting system.