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Controlling hospital infection

Clear information on hospital infection and our good record of reducing any risk to you.

Welcome to the Infection Prevention and Control Team.  

We are a multidisciplinary team comprised of consultant microbiologists, specialist nurses and an antimicrobial pharmacist headed up by the Director of Infection Prevention and Control. 

We are dedicated to reducing the risk of infection to patients, visitors, and staff.   

An Infection Prevention and Control Strategy has been developed, which outlies our team approach. 

Our Infection Prevention Mission is… To work together to deliver outstanding healthcare by engaging, educating, and empowering healthcare staff, patients, and their carers to prevent healthcare associated infections.

Our Infection Prevention Vision is… A world in which healthcare associated infections have been reduced to the lowest possible level.

Actions we are taking include: -

  • Surveillance on key infections and reporting results back to the frontline staff 
  • Producing evidence-based infection prevention and control policies and auditing standards to ensure these are followed
  • Supporting excellence in antimicrobial prescribing 
  • Providing clinical advice on the management of individual patients, or suspected outbreaks of infection
  • Providing education and training of all staff in infection prevention and control practice
  • Supporting and reassuring patients and their families using our services
  • Constantly seeking ways to improve practice to reduce hospital infections 

Preventing infections is a team effort and patients and visitors can contribute as well as staff. 

Visiting is important to our patients and us,  and we are asking for visitors to help to reduce infection risks.

On arrival at the ward/department and prior to leaving, clean your hands using the alcohol-based hand sanitiser. 

If you are unwell with any of the following illnesses you should postpone your visit until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have settled and let the Ward Manager or person in charge know.

  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Influenza or Covid-19 symptoms
  • Contact with someone who currently has Covid-19
  • Contact with someone with an infectious disease e.g., measles, chickenpox, whooping cough (list is not exhaustive)

Some of these infections can be more harmful to patients in hospital. Not visiting when you have an infection, helps us to protect your relative/friend, all other patients and visitors, and staff.   

If you have any open wounds please ensure they are covered with a clean, waterproof dressing to protect yourself from infection. 

Please observe visiting times and numbers of visitors allowed per patient. This is to avoid overcrowding and helps to ensure our patients have adequate rest.  If you need to visit outside of visiting hours please speak to the person in charge of the ward to arrange.

Whilst we recognise visits from children can support patient wellbeing, please check with the Ward Manager that it is safe for children to visit. There may be visiting restrictions in place in some clinical areas to protect our patients, you, and your family. If visiting, children must be supervised at all times. It is important to note that although children are welcome to visit, babies and young children are more susceptible to contracting and transmitting infections.

When you enter the ward/unit always report to the reception/ nurses station. The staff can advise you if you need to take any further precautions or wear personal protective equipment.

The ward staff will also inform you of any other visiting restrictions or requirements.

Please use the chairs provided to sit on rather than sitting on the patients’ bed and do not touch the patients’ wounds, drips, or devices as this could contribute to infection risk to patients or yourself.

Visitors needing to use the toilet should use facilities on the main corridors not those on the wards.

There may be occasions where wards are closed to visiting due to outbreaks of infection. If you are unsure, please contact the ward prior to visiting.

Do not bring unnecessary items into hospital for your relative/friend. This is to ensure all personal belongings can be stored in the bedside locker. This will help to maintain high standards of cleaning of bedside tables.

We value patients being nourished whilst in hospital. Food brought in from home can present an infection risk if not stored correctly. If you would like to bring in food, please check with the ward manager or person in charge. Ward staff cannot re-heat food brought in from home. Food can only be stored in a refrigerator for 24 hours and will then be disposed of regardless of the use by or best before date.

Patients being cared for in isolation may need special precautions and staff/ visitors attending to patients may need to wear personal protective equipment. Ask the nursing staff if you need to take any of these precautions before visiting your relative/friend. Facemasks are no longer essential however you may wear one if you prefer.

If you are visiting a person being cared for in an isolation room, or you provide hands on care to a patient, you should always wash your hands with soap and water as the hand sanitiser is ineffective against some bacteria. The correct hand hashing technique is displayed on all dispensers.

If you are unsure or require additional information please contact the Infection Prevention & Control Team on:

Telephone: 01925 662117 
Email: whh.infectioncontrol@nhs.net


All patients are asked to inform the doctor or nurse on admission of any recent travel or hospital admissions so that you receive the most appropriate care and treatment and so that we can carry out additional tests (see CPE section below). 

The most effective way to reduce your risk of infection is to maintain good hand hygiene. You should wash your hands: -

  • after using the toilet, urinal, or commode
  • prior to eating and drinking

Wipes will be provided at each mealtime and we ask you to use these prior to eating and or drinking.

Don’t be afraid to ask staff and visitors if they've washed their hands before any contact with you. 

It is sometimes necessary to care for patients in isolation to prevent the spread of infection to other patients, visitors, and staff. This will usually be done in a single room and sometimes in a bay with other patients with the same infection. You will be informed about a suspicion of infection or confirmation of results if there is a need for you to be cared for in an isolation area.

Do not touch or allow your relatives and friends to touch wounds or any other device such as catheters or drips. 

Whilst drips and catheters are needed to provide care and treatment it is important that they are removed as soon as they are no longer needed.  It is okay to ask staff about plans to remove drips and catheters.  

Tell a member of staff straight away if you have:

  • any drips or tubes attached to you that have become sore or uncomfortable
  • develop diarrhoea and or vomiting

As a caring Trust we are signed up to the commitment to cleanliness charter.  If you spot any problem, please report the issues to a member of staff and we will aim to rectify these as soon as possible.

Please talk to a member of staff in the area you are visiting if you have any concerns about cleanliness standards.

Bacteria are a part of everyday life. Many bacteria live in and on our bodies without causing harm and some even help us to stay healthy. A small portion of bacteria are known to cause infections and some are more often associated with hospitals. 

We understand some people may be concerned about infection risks when admitted to hospital. Information on more common infections is included below.

MRSA is a type of bacteria that usually lives on the skin (this is called colonisation) in approximately 3% of the adult population. If it gets into the body it can cause serious infections that need treatment with antibiotics.  More serious infections may need to be treated with antibiotics given by a drip.

Patients being admitted to hospital for most types of surgery or as an emergency are screened (using swabs in the nose and groin area) to test for MRSA.  If MRSA is present, you will be prescribed a skin wash and nasal cream to treat the colonisation. It may be necessary to care for you in an isolation room.

Further information is available at MRSA - NHS (www.nhs.uk) 

C. diff is a ‘normal’ gut bacteria in approximately 3% of the healthy adult population. It can also be found in children under the age of 2 years but rarely causes a problem. C. diff can cause illness when certain antibiotics disturb the balance of ‘normal’ bacteria in the gut.  

If you are diagnosed with C. diff infection you will be cared for in a single room or a bay with other patients who have this infection. C. diff is treated with a different type of antibiotic. The area will be cleaned with disinfectants to reduce the risk of the infection spreading.

Alcohol based hand sanitisers are not effective against C. diff and hands must be washed with soap and water.

Following discharge from hospital, should you develop diarrhoea which concerns you, please contact your GP for advice.

Further information is available at Clostridium difficile (C. diff) - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

In recent years, some common bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics. A group of bacteria causing concerns are Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae or CPE. These bacteria have an ability to stop antibiotics working effectively and leave limited options for antibiotic treatment.

We are taking steps to identify patients who may carry these bacteria by screening patients who have had : 

  • an overnight stay in another hospital within the past 12 months (within the UK and abroad)
  • contact with a case of CPE in the past

If CPE is identified from the screening samples you will be cared for in a single room and staff may wear additional personal protective equipment when providing care.

Further information is available at Actions to contain carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (publishing.service.gov.uk)

For further information the Infection Prevention and Control Team can be contacted by:

Telephone: 01925 662117 
Email: whh.infectioncontrol@nhs.net

View our latest infection rates here in our transparency section