This quality improvement guide was produced by NICE, in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). Its aim is twofold: to reduce the risk of harm from healthcare-associated infections for patients, staff and visitors; and to reduce the costs associated with preventable infection.

The guide aims to improve the quality of care and practice over and above current standards as set out in the Department of Health’s Health and Social Care Act 2008: Code of practice on the prevention and control of infections.

Quality improvement statements

This guide includes quality improvement statements on:

Who is it for?

  • Board members working in (or with) hospitals
  • Senior managers and others working elsewhere in the NHS
  • Local authorities and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors

Is this guideline up to date?

November 2019: We have found no new evidence that affects the recommendations. For more information, see the surveillance decision.

Guideline development process

The guide was developed using a pilot process based on processes and methods used by NICE to develop other types of guidance. A topic expert group was set up and led by an independent chair. It consisted of practitioners from the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector, as well as academics and patient and public representatives. The group worked with NICE and the PHE to develop the guide.

This guide was previously called prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections: quality improvement guide.

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.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)