Accountability framework

The policies, procedures and lines of accountability for specific areas within an organisation.

Adverse event

An unplanned or unanticipated event involving actual (or potential) risk or harm to patients. In the context of this guide, this would be an infection occurring as a result of medical or surgical intervention or contact with a healthcare setting.

Continuous quality improvement (CQI)

Improving the provision of services and practice by using a range of audit and statistical tools to assess the current situation, identify areas for improvement and measure the results.

Hand hygiene

The use of soap or solution (non-antimicrobial or antimicrobial) and water, or a waterless antimicrobial agent, to remove transient or residual organisms from the hands.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Measures that provide an indication of performance in key areas.

Learning methodologies

Techniques and approaches that provide an opportunity to evaluate current practice, identify areas for improvement and disseminate the findings.

Link practitioners

Local leaders and role models – either within a trust, or working in settings that link to that trust – promote the principles of safe, clean care or good prescribing practices during the day-to-day operation of their service. Link practitioners may have a clinical or lay background. An example of the former could be a nurse or pharmacist. An example of the latter could be a patient liaison officer..

Medical device

A product used to diagnose, treat or prevent disease or injury.

Planned preventive maintenance

The scheduling of planned maintenance to prevent damage, breakdown and functional failures.


Active monitoring of infection at patient, ward, trust or national level. This involves counting cases over time and recognising and controlling outbreaks and adverse trends. It also involves producing complete epidemiological records of infection outbreaks and adverse incidents which describe and summarise all cases.

Trust estates

All the buildings and grounds that fall under the management and control of the trust.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)