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Healthcare professionals asked ‘Can you prevent it?’ at Island’s 18th Annual Infection Prevention and Control Conference 4 February 2013

Today, the Department of Health held the Island’s 18th Annual Infection Prevention and Control Conference, this year titled ‘Can you Prevent it?’. The conference, always popular and an important date in the Island’s healthcare education calendar, examines the important aspects of prevention and control of both hospital and community infections.

This year's meeting highlighted the importance of patient involvement in the prevention and control of infections, with particular emphasis placed on cleaning standards that must be met to prevent healthcare associated infection. The conference enables professionals to look at ways of further improving already stringent patient safety within both of the Island’s hospitals and the wider community.

Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK, said:

'Continuing development and education are vital to the ongoing battle healthcare professionals must wage, in order to fight the threat posed to patients by infections that can develop in a healthcare setting, such as hospitals and community healthcare centres. This annual event gives professionals from across the Island time to take stock, learn about the latest practice, and partake in discussions and networking. The importance of infection control cannot be understated, as recent reports on the growing resistance to antibiotics used to treat infections demonstrates. The turn-out at today’s event is testament to the commitment of our healthcare workforce in tackling this serious issue. My sincere thanks and congratulations go to those who continue to keep this special event running from strength to strength, bringing over some of the brightest minds in the field of infection control to speak on-Island.'

This year the conference was chaired by David Killip, Chief Executive of Department of Health and Dr Mathew Todd, Renal Consultant at Noble’s Hospital, with a variety of guest speakers.

The keynote speaker was Professor Sally Bloomfield, who is a Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Professor Bloomfield was a member of the British Standards Institute Committee (Antiseptics and Disinfectants) and principal UK expert of the Comité Européen de Normalisation which was established to produce harmonised European scientific test methods for antiseptics and disinfectants in the fields of medicine, agriculture and veterinary practice, food and institutional hygiene.

Another guest speaker was Dr Peter Hoffman, Consultant Clinical Scientist for the Health Protection Agency‘s Laboratory of Healthcare-associated Infection, London, who reviewed the current evidence on the suitability of surfaces within the healthcare environment including showing that antibacterial properties in surfaces have no sustained long term effects.

Mr Martin Keirnan, a Consultant Nurse from Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and a previous President of the Infection Prevention Society, presented the latest technology in cleaning standards audit, including the use of forensic ultraviolet light to monitor dust levels.

The afternoon session gave attention to the patient experience and public perceptions that surround healthcare associated infections. Dr Rizwan Khan, a Consultant Microbiologist at the Royal Bolton NHS Foundation Hospital, discussed healthcare associated infections and public confidence. He specifically highlighted general aspects of healthcare associated infections including risk factors, the micro-organisms involved and impact on healthcare settings.

Margaret Murphy, from the World Health Organisation and World Alliance for Safety, complimented the previous speaker. With the focus centred on the positive impact of patient involvement in the challenge of minimising preventable infections, Mrs Murphy explained that the purpose of engaging patients in healthcare strategies is to ensure that the patient’s views are heard, acted upon and embedded into practice.

The final speakers were the Isle of Man’s Dr Stella Harris, Occupational Health Associate Specialist and Sue Plant, Occupational Health Manager, both from the Department of Health. Titled ‘In at the Sharp End’, they focused on the new EU Directive regarding sharps safety in the work place and the introduction of ‘safer needles’ within the Department of Health.

Margaret Knight, Lead Nurse, Infection Prevention and Control at Noble’s Hospital said:

'The annual conference facilitates healthcare workers from the Isle of Man to keep abreast of current developments in infection control directly from international experts without having to leave the Island.'

Closing the conference, David Killip, Chief Executive said:

'It is crucial that we continue to support events like this. The conference demonstrates that the Department of Health is at the forefront of infection control practices and strives to maintain the highest possible standards and techniques in prevention.'

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