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New national system to allow ‘real time’ monitoring of infection outbreaks in Welsh hospitals

The Welsh NHS will be able to prevent, track, control and manage outbreaks of healthcare-associated infections in hospitals in real time as part of a new IT system to be rolled out across Wales, Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced recently.

The Welsh Government is investing £1.9m from the Efficiency through Technology Fund in a new system called ICNet, which will provide case management and surveillance for health boards.

As part of the new system, NHS staff will be alerted immediately in the event of a case of a healthcare-associated infection. This will ensure response measures are put in place at the earliest opportunity, reducing the risk of the infection spreading to other patients or staff in the hospital or in a community setting and improving outcomes for patients.

In the event of an outbreak, ICNet will also help staff make the best use of time – less time will be spent manually searching records and reviewing historic cases and more caring for patients.

ICNet will be able to interact and connect with other national IT systems, including surgery databases, laboratory reporting and patient administration systems. It will provide an all-Wales digital system, allowing staff to track the care of patients with confirmed cases of a healthcare-associated infection, such as MRSA, if they need to be transferred to another hospital for ongoing treatment.

The network will also create a national picture of the infection control rates across Wales – Public Health Wales, the Welsh Government and health boards will benefit from sharing accurate and transparent data.  

The new system will be in place by mid-2017.

Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“Healthcare-associated infections are harmful to patients and a costly burden for the Welsh NHS.

“The new national ICNet system will allow the Welsh NHS to track, prevent, control and manage healthcare-associated infections in real time.

“This will help improve patient safety by reducing preventable infection outbreaks in our hospitals.”

Tracey Cooper, assistant director of nursing for infection prevention at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said:

“We introduced ICNet across North Wales last year as part of our own internal programme to reduce the number of avoidable infections. It has helped us enormously and we continue to reduce the number of cases of Clostridium difficile infection and MRSA bacteraemia through this programme of work.  

“We are delighted the work we have done in developing the system will now be shared across the whole of Wales.”

Dr. Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said:

“We are pleased to support the roll-out of ICNet across Wales. This new system will result in improved care and management of patients with healthcare associated infections in hospitals in Wales. It will also improve prevention and management of outbreaks of these types of infections.

“The system will also help Public Health Wales to get a national picture of rates of healthcare associated infections across Wales, and assist us as we work with our partners across the NHS to ensure people are safe, receive appropriate good quality care, and have the most positive experience possible of healthcare in Wales.”

 

Channel website: http://gov.wales

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