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Scotland sets out five-year ambitions on reducing avoidable infections

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A five-year strategic framework to control antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections has been published by the Scottish government.

It sets out a national “commitment” to controlling healthcare associated infections and containing antimicrobial resistance.

“All health boards must take cleanliness and infection control extremely seriously”

Shona Robison

The framework, published on Sunday, is intended to ensure the safety of patients, the public and all healthcare staff and to make hospitals and communities a safer place, said ministers.

The Scottish government noted that prevention and control of both antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infection remained an “important issue for all environments” where healthcare was delivered and for “everyone involved in the delivery of care”.

The plan – titled the Scottish Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection – Five Year Strategic Framework (2016-21) – maps out “actions” and “outcomes” for the next five years.

The overarching aims of the framework are the containment of antimicrobial resistance and prevention of healthcare associated infection, and to advance scientific knowledge and innovation on both.

It also sets out ambitions to improve antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infection efficiency, transparency and accountability, and improve workforce capacity for antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infection.

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: “Tackling antimicrobial resistance and reducing healthcare associated infections remains a key priority for this government.”

She suggested that “good progress” had been made so far on tackling high profile healthcare associated infections.


Shona Robison

Shona Robison

The latest quarterly figures showed that, since 2007, MRSA rates have fallen by 90% and Clostridium difficile infection rates for those aged 65 years and over have reduced by 88%, she said.

“These significant reductions have only been possible due to the hard work, diligence and commitment of Scotland’s NHS staff and key stakeholders,” said Ms Robison.

“Patients and the public deserve to have complete confidence in the cleanliness of Scottish hospitals and the quality of NHS services and I have made clear my expectation that all health boards must take cleanliness and infection control extremely seriously,” she said.

The new strategic framework would “inform” policy and help NHS boards implement and deliver policies “consistently and reliably” in order to “continue to provide a culture that promotes the delivery of person-centred safe and effective care”.

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