Facing the challenges of implementing National Standard 3; a district approach

Patricia Karbowiak 1

Clinical Nurse Consultant Infection Prevention Service, Hunter New England Local Health District, Maitland, NSW, Australia


Publication of the National Standards 2012, presented acute inpatient healthcare facilities in Australia with unprecedented challenges in implementation of standard practice for prevention of healthcare associated infections. Hunter New England Local Health District in the north east of NSW is one of the largest in Australia, with over 40 acute care facilities, including 7 district and tertiary hospitals. It services a population of over 1 million. Complying with the standard in the timeframe provided, with available resources seemed insurmountable. The challenge: How could we work smarter?

Participation in the draft draft phase of the standard allowed the District to anticipate the requirements of Standard 3, developing necessary policies and planning the implementation and management strategies in order to comply.

All acute sites surveyed for Accreditation since 2012 have gained a full three years Accreditation with the exception of one site. Hand hygiene compliance climbed from 65% (2010) to sustained levels above 85% since 2013. Healthcare-associated, MRSA bloodstream events fell from 20-27 per annum (2008-2010) data, to below 10 (2015).

The Infection Prevention Service proactively addressed the new challenges and embeded necessary changes in anticipation of the Standard. The programmes and resources developed and instigated by the district have been used state-wide to assist in the creation of standardised auditing and policies. There remain challenges relating to portions of the Standard particularly around governance, sterilisation, action planning to remediate non-compliance and consumer engagement. As a Service we are ready to meet and overcome these outstanding challenges.


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