Infection on the system (Kelsey, 2000). In addition to

Infection control is a practice
aimed at preventing or reducing the spread of infectious diseases within the
healthcare environment from hospitals, general practices, health centres and
community settings. It encompasses a range of measures designed to protect patients
and staff from nosocomial infection (Richards, 2017). Nosocomial infection, also
known as a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), can be defined as an infection which
a patient does not present at admission but develops whilst hospitalised (Emmerson et al., 1996.) They can affect
patients varyingly, delaying their recovery time and even proving fatal in some
cases (Decoster et al., 2012). It has been reported that in the United Kingdom
(UK), 9% of people acquire infection while in hospital with the Department of
Health reinforcing this by stating that around 100,000 patients contract a
nosocomial infection every year (Fox
& Harvey, 2008). Infection significantly increases the cost to the
National Health Service (NHS), adding to the ever-increasing burden on the
system (Kelsey, 2000). In addition
to this, patients who have developed an infection since admittance are
hospitalised for longer periods of time, on average eleven days longer. This
increased stay, along with any additional surgery or pharmacotherapy needed,
results in the average cost per patient being significantly higher than
patients who are uninfected. The total sum of this is estimated to be in excess
of £1 billion pounds per annum (The Society of Radiographers, 2006). It is, therefore,
a key component of delivering safe patient care. The radiology department within
the hospital is of no exception, ensuring that both staff and patients are at a
reduced or prevented risk of infection and disease. This is becoming
increasingly more important within the NHS as infections are becoming far more
difficult to treat than before, with many becoming resistant to antimicrobial
agents such as antibiotics like penicillins
(Carter, 2009). Perhaps one of the most reported examples of this is the
rise of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus (MRSA), the most common cause of nosocomial infection (Wilson, Foreword, & Jenner, 2006). In
fact, it is so prevalent that the number of reported cases have doubled over
the last decade (Hamza et al., 2007). For
an infection to occur, the microorganism must encounter the host through several
different pathways. An indirect route involves inanimate objects, commonly referred
to as fomites, such as medical equipment. Or, it may involve a living organism,
called a vector, such as a member of the multidisciplinary team (MDT). These
fomites and, or vectors may then become contaminated with the pathogen and act
as a reservoir for transmitting the microorganism to the host. Consequently,
the presence of a pathogen may colonise by growing and multiplying within the
host which, in turn, may lead to infection
(McCormick, 2000). It is, therefore, understandable that infection control
procedures within the NHS are a high priority and should be applied to everyday
clinical practice.

Following the Francis
Report (2013), clinical governance has become more rigorous, with audits undertaken
to continuously monitor clinical practice and any deficiencies in relation to
set standards of care identified and improved. This is true for infection
control which has received more attention from the Care Quality Commission
(CQC) and the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), whom should be informed
immediately if there are any concerns from the Heath Protection Agency (HPA)
that adequate management of healthcare-acquired infections has not been
met.  The report concluded that robust
arrangements are needed for sharing concerns relating to infection control with
regulators. It states that the collection, analysis and publication of provider
data relating to healthcare-acquired infections should be coordinated with the
HPA and the Health and Social Care Information Centre, whilst also stating that
it is completely unacceptable for a patient to contract certain types of
infection resulting from poor infection control.

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