Revising the NHMRC Australian Guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare (2010)

A/Professor Brett Mitchell 1, Professor Marilyn Cruikshank 2, Cathy Connor 3

1 Faculty of Nursing and Health and Director Lifestyle Research Centre, 185 Fox Valley Road, Wahroonga NSW 2076 Australia,

2 Director National HAI Program, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, GPO Box 5480 Sydney NSW 2001

3 Director Public Health, National Health and Medical Research Council, GPO Box 1421 Canberra 2601.


The 2010 Guidelines provide a basis for healthcare workers and healthcare facilities to develop protocols and processes for infection prevention and control specific to local settings. The Guidelines have a risk management approach to preventing infection and are based around the following principles:

  • Part A: understanding of the modes of transmission of infectious agents and of risk management
  • Part B: effective work practices that minimise the risk of transmission of infectious agents
  • Part C: governance structures that support the implementation, monitoring and reporting of infection prevention and control work practices. Parts B and C also refer to legislation, regulations and standards relevant to infection control.

The Guidelines are aimed at all sectors of healthcare.  They are also a key resource for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (Standard 3): preventing and controlling health care associated infections. As such, maintaining the currency and accuracy of the Guidelines is important.

NHMRC is well known in the health sector for the quality and integrity of its clinical practice guidelines, and the processes used to develop or revise them.  NHMRC is committed to keeping its guidelines current and reflective of the latest evidence, and welcomes the opportunity to work with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to undertake this revision.  A/Professor Brett Mitchell chairs the expert committee established to oversee the revision.

This presentation will provide an update on how the guidelines are being revised, and what are the key clinical issues of concern.

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