This guideline covers preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections in children, young people and adults in primary and community care settings. It provides a blueprint for the infection prevention and control precautions that should be applied by everyone involved in delivering NHS care and treatment.

In February 2017, we updated recommendations on safe use and disposal of sharps to link to relevant legislation, and added a safety alert on chlorhexidine to recommendations on vascular access devices.

In February 2017 a footnote was added to recommendation linking to Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013. A footnote was also added to recommendations,, and linking to a safety alert on chlorhexidine. Other footnotes were updated with references to revised or replaced British Standards and other regulations.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Commissioners and providers
  • Healthcare professionals working in primary and community care settings, including ambulance services, schools and prisons
  • Children, young people and adults receiving healthcare for which standard infection-control precautions apply in primary and community care, and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in January 2017. We identified no major studies that will affect the recommendations in the next 3 to 5 years.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline CG2 (June 2003).

This guideline was previously called infection: prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in primary and community care.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.