NICE quality standards describe high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area. Each standard consists of a prioritised set of specific, concise and measurable statements. They draw on existing guidance, which provides an underpinning, comprehensive set of recommendations, and are designed to support the measurement of improvement.

This quality standard covers organisational factors in preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections in secondary care settings.

Organisational factors include management arrangements, policies, procedures, monitoring, evaluation, audit and accountability.

Secondary care settings include hospital buildings and grounds; inpatient, day case and outpatient facilities and services; elective and emergency care facilities; and hospital maternity units and services.

This quality standard should be read alongside NICE quality standard 61, which is an overarching quality standard on infection prevention and control, and NICE quality standard 49, which covers surgical site infection in all healthcare settings. Other related quality standards, including a quality standard on antimicrobial stewardship that is in production, are listed in related NICE quality standards.

The quality statements that follow build upon the code of practice on the prevention and control of infections that applies to all providers of healthcare and adult social care under The Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Throughout this quality standard, the term ‘hospital’ is used for ease of reference to represent the organisation responsible for services provided in secondary care settings.

For more information see the healthcare-associated infections topic overview.