Sharing knowledge for a better infection control future

They say that there is safety in numbers – and you could not apply a more appropriate description to the delegates that attended IPS 2013 earlier this month.

Infection Prevention 2013 is hosted by the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) and is the UK’s largest infection prevention and control event. Despite being based in the UK, it is a truly international affair, attracting infection prevention professionals from around the world.

The vision of the IPS is that no person is harmed by a preventable infection, and its mission is to inform, promote and sustain expert infection prevention policy and practice in the pursuit of patient or service user and staff safety, wherever care is delivered.

These are admirable aims, and they encapsulate why so many of us are utterly committed to helping reduce healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) and improve patient care and safety. The healthcare sector, especially the NHS, is subject to constant, and frequently harsh, media scrutiny, but IPS 2013 sent out many positive messages when it comes to healthcare and patient care.

No-one who witnessed the gathering of hundreds of people at London’s Excel, all devoted to the infection prevention cause, could have denied the professionalism and enthusiasm that pervaded the event.

GOJO was proud to be a gold sponsor of IPS 2013, and to have supported Professor Hugo Sax, a consultant at the University Hospital Zurich, who gave a keynote speech entitled: ‘Hand hygiene – the ultimate microbiology-behaviour challenge.

Professor Sax provided some thought-provoking input on microbiological risks in healthcare settings, risk perception and its impact on mental models, and what this means for hand hygiene.

There was a wealth of seminars and talks to attend, helping to improve the knowledge of delegates and share best practice. Some of my highlights were:

• Professor Dale Fisher, senior consultant and head of infectious diseases, National University Hospital, Singapore – Gaining organisational buy-in to infection prevention

• Michael Gardam, director, infection prevention and control, University Health Network, Canada – Using front-line ownership to improve patient safety

• Professor Hugo Sax, consultant, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland – Hand hygiene: the ultimate microbiological behaviour challenge

• Professor Aidan Halligan, University College London Hospital – Rediscovering lost values in the NHS

• Annette Jeanes, director of Infection Prevention and Control/Consultant Nurse Infection Control, University College London NHS Foundation Trust – Spies, lies and hand hygiene assurance

• Christina Bradley, laboratory manager, Hospital Infection Research Laboratories, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and Peter Hoffman, consultant clinical scientist, Public Health England – Demystifying disinfectant testing

• Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive, Global Sepsis Alliance – Sepsis

• Professor Barry Cookson, Medical Microbiology, University College London – Aycliffe Lecture: MRSA past, present and future

This year’s event was also a cause for celebration as it marked the official announcement of two new IPS patrons.

Professor Tricia Hart and Professor Didier Pittet are incredibly respected members of the global healthcare community, and their input to the organisation can only be a guarantee of future innovation and success.

In conclusion, IPS 2013 was yet another great event, providing attendees with plenty of inspiration and ideas for improving their infection prevention and hand hygiene regimes – me included!