There is no shortage of pressing topics that could potentially occupy an enthusiastic trust public health director. It is over a year since the publication of the National Audit Office report The Management and Control of Hospital Acquired Infection in Acute NHS Trusts in England.
It found that direct chief executive involvement in this area was 'very low' in most trusts and few were members of their hospital infection control committees. It pointed to the lack of departmental guidelines on infection control staffing and the fact that few trusts meet the guidelines recommended by the Royal College of Pathologists on the amount of time infection control doctors should spend on infection control.
Hospital infection control teams complained about not being able to spend enough time on planned surveillance, and the report pointed to wide variations in the extent of dissemination of infection rate surveillance results. The Department of Health's UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Plan, published last June, says it will 'strengthen infection control practices and processes in hospitals and the community'.