Results from the third Scottish National Prevalence survey: is a population health approach now needed to prevent HAI?

Shona Cairns, Cheryl Gibbons, Aynsley Milne, Hazel King, Melissa Llano, Laura MacDonald, William Malcolm, Chris Robertson, Jacqueline Sneddon, Jennifer Weir, Jacqui Reilly

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Summary Background Healthcare associated infections (HAI) are a major public health concern and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. A robust and current evidence base that is specific to local, national and Europe-wide settings is necessary to inform the development of strategies to reduce HAI and contain antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Aim To measure the prevalence of HAI and antimicrobial prescribing and identify key priority areas for interventions to reduce the burden of infection. Methods A national rolling PPS in National Health Service (NHS) acute, NHS non-acute, NHS paediatric and independent hospitals was carried out between September and November 2016 using the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control protocol designed for the European PPS. Findings The prevalence of HAI was 4.6%, 2.7% and 3.2% in acute adults, paediatric and non-acute patient groups, respectively. The most common HAI types reported in adult patients were urinary tract infection and pneumonia. The prevalence of antimicrobial prescribing was 35.7%, 29.3% and 13.8% in acute adults, paediatric and non-acute patient groups, respectively. Respiratory, skin and soft tissue, gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections were the most common infections being treated at the time of survey. Conclusion HAI continues to be a public health concern in Scotland. UTI and pneumonia continue to place a significant burden on patients and on healthcare delivery, including those that develop in the community and require hospital admission. A broader population health approach which focuses on reducing the risk of infection upstream would reduce these infections in both community and hospital settings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Early online date2 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2018


  • healthcare associated infection
  • infection prevention
  • infection control
  • antimicrobial resistance

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