NICE is calling on nurses to have a 'no tolerance attitude' to healthcare-associated infections (HEIs) in a bid to save lives and save money.
HEIs cost the NHS approximately £1 billion a year, £56 million incurred in primary care and the community.
The Institute has updated its HEI clinical guideline, revisiting the original recommendations on hand hygiene; the use of personal protective equipment; and the safe use and disposal of sharps.
It also addresses infections resulting from percutaneous gastrostomy feeding and vascular access devices, and makes new recommendations on the disposal of healthcare waste.
South Yorkshire practice nurse Zara Head, a member of the guideline development group, said: 'The new guidance reflects the fact that more and more patients are being seen in primary care and more complex issues are being dealt with.
'Patient safety is the cornerstone of care and remains our priority.'
The complete guidance is available from NICE's website at http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG139