“Home growing” staff is the key to an integrated infection prevention strategy, writes Liz Grogan

The Infection Prevention and Control Team at Leeds Community Healthcare Trust were successfully awarded “Team of the Year 2019” at the Infection Prevention Society annual conference in Liverpool in September.

Testimony to their hard work has been the development of a Partnership Cooperation Agreement between LCH and Leeds City Council, encompassing partners across the system. The team have worked extensively on building a resilient workforce to deliver the unique partnership with the local city council and clinical commissioning groups for the Integrated Personal Commissioning agenda.

The IPC team have worked effectively at “home growing” members of staff, from recruiting junior members that over the years have gone on to lead the service. The education and development of staff through recognised qualification is paramount to continue this legacy. 

The pivotal role in building a resilient service has been focusing on system leadership and with a strong foundation of clinical knowledge and expertise, growing a team that can deliver effective outcomes throughout the local healthcare economy and wider integrated care systems, with patients at the centre of delivery.

Flu vaccine uptake within health and social care professionals is a strategic priority to the organisation and the IPC team

The partnership has demonstrated many effective ways of working on topics such as antimicrobial strategies, sepsis and the gram negative E.coli agenda which we have copyrighted as the “I-Spy E.coli” campaign and shared this work nationally at various conferences.

Further examples can be found in the work we have completed in improving education and training within the care home economy, which has proven to reduce outbreaks across the system lowering the impact on partners throughout the economy; or with our shared working with the children’s vaccination and immunisation team which saw Leeds vaccinate a considerable proportion of children in response to the national measles outbreak.

Changing landscapes

Flu vaccine uptake within health and social care professionals is a strategic priority to the organisation and the IPC team. To ensure patient safety is at the forefront of care across the city the team have for many years continued to work collaboratively with council colleagues to ensure that vaccination is offered to both NHS and Leeds City Council healthcare workers who visit many vulnerable patients we serve. This also provides support throughout the system to other providers throughout the city and aids in reducing the number of winter admission due to respiratory infections.

Through building a robust and resilient work force in IPC with our partners throughout the system, we hope to empower professionals who can go forward to enhance the changing landscape of the NHS and embrace the NHS long-term plan with particular emphasis on digital technology and recruitment.