A hospital acquired infection is one that is neither present nor incubating at
the time when a patient is admitted to hospital. We carried out a study of the
management and control of hospital acquired infection because:
* at any given time, some 9 per cent of patients in hospital have a hospital
acquired infection that can add to the patient?s discomfort and length of
stay and may adversely affect the treatment of the patient?s original
medical condition. It can result in prolonged or permanent disability and a
small proportion of patients die(1, 9).
* hospital-acquired infection may be costing the National Health Service as
much as £1 billion a year(12).
* hospital acquired infection cannot be completely eradicated but, in 1995,
the Hospital Infection Working Group of the Department of Health
(Department) and Public Health Laboratory Service believed that about
30 per cent could be prevented(9).
* the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology?s report
on ?Resistance to Antibiotics and other Antimicrobial Agents? highlighted
concerns about hospitals? infection control arrangements(10).
* hospital hygiene and infection control encompasses the whole NHS health
* there is scope for improving infection control and our findings can
promote greater awareness of the problem and better practice.
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