Clostridium difficile and norovirus appear to be the main causes of concern for infection control professionals as we enter the winter months, according to the latest survey. Conducted at Infection Prevention 2013, the survey revealed that 48% of the respondents highlighted C difficile as the primary cause of concern and 36% highlighted norovirus.

Carried out by Bioquell, a provider of no-touch infection control solutions to the healthcare industry, the survey of 170 infection control nurses and senior practitioners were asked to rank various pathogens in order of priority and also indicate any others that they were concerned about. The findings revealed that CPE (carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae) was becoming a major concern (19%). Additionally, Acinetobacter (2%), MRSA (4%) and VRE (4%) were further potential issues being faced by infection control teams.

Looking at what would make the biggest impact to infection control and management at each hospital, more single rooms (44% of the respondents) was the clear primary choice. This was followed by a need for more infection control nurses (26%). The survey also highlighted that many infection control professional would like to have more engagement from the hospital (16% stating this as a primary requirement with 46% placing it in the top three rankings). This was also supplemented by further comments where the need for better hand hygiene compliance, better training and more staff engagement were all raised as key concerns.

Commenting on this survey, Martin Whiting, director of marketing at Bioquell said, “We have already started to see outbreaks of norovirus in some parts of the UK and we are all highly aware of the government targets for C. difficile cases that are leading to large fines at various NHS Trusts. So not surprisingly, both of these were some of the key concerns raised by our customers at this year’s IPS organised event.”

“Interestingly, the survey highlighted the chronic shortage of single rooms in UK hospitals for dealing with pathogen outbreaks. Hand hygiene compliance and staff engagement were also identified as core areas of concern. These are exactly what our new solution, the Bioquell ICE-pod system, has been designed to address.”

The Bioquell ICE-pod, demonstrated during the show, is a semi-permanent installation that can be erected around a bed space to provide many of the benefits of a single room (for example, a sense of patient privacy and a barrier to infection transmission) whilst continuing to provide ward staff with excellent visibility and access to the patient. Having to enter each ICE-pod through a doorway with alcohol dispensers and gloves readily available, hand hygiene compliance has also been observed to increase at many of the NHS hospitals where the pods have been installed.