A LEADING infection control expert has been appointed to Scotland’s care watchdog in its war on superbugs.
The Care Commission inspects and regulates almost 15,0000 care services, including nurseries and care homes for older people.
Now it has appointed a dedicated national Nurse Consultant to reduce the chances of infections from affecting the most vulnerable in society, including the very young and the very old.
For the next two years infection control specialist Gillian Stevenson will work with the Government’s Healthcare Associated Infection Task Force and a wide range of other bodies to improve infection prevention.
She will be concentrating her efforts on nurseries and care homes for adults, the majority of which are involved in the care of older people.
Gillian, whose extensive career has seen her amass huge expertise on infection control isues, was most recently the HAI Nurse Consultant with NHS Tayside. The Scottish Government has agreed to fund her secondment to the Care Commission for two years.
She said: “It is important to appreciate that not all infections can be prevented – but there are many ways the risks can be greatly reduced and it is important the many, varied bodies with a role work together on this.
“The Care Commission has a highly important place because it regulates almost 15,000 care services, including many where HAIs are a risk.
“That gives us a very direct route to make a positive impact on prevention. We have national influence, so it is essential that we use it wisely.”
The rise of so-called hospital superbugs has been one of the most hotly debated medical issues of the past five years, fuelling public awareness. However less attention is focused on infections outside of hospital settings.
One of the most innovative strands of the work will be to roll out “Safe and Well” which is guidance on infection prevention and control for nurseries for children.
Another piece of work is to support a Cleanliness Champion training programme in care homes and children’s nurseries.
The Nurse Consultant will also join key projects led by Health Protection Scotland such as assisting with looking at the potential for setting up surveillance of infection in care homes.
Susan Brimelow, the Care Commission’s Director of Healthcare Regulation said: “We are delighted to have an expert of Gillian’s stature working with us.
“The public are rightly concerned about infection and we are doing our part to tackle this problem nationwide and believe we can make significant headway in the next two years.”