Learning infection prevention lessons from COVID-19

Infection prevention has never had such a high profile and that’s why Sussex Health and Care Partnership used the opportunity to host a week of events to showcase the subject with national, regional and local speakers.

Speakers included dedicated infection prevention and control professionals, scientists and clinical specialists who are passionate about sharing learning and ongoing professional development in the field of infection prevention – all working to keep our patients and our people as safe as possible.

The event received rave reviews with attendees from as far away as Newcastle and Gateshead, North East to Dorset in the South West as well as closer neighbours from Epsom and Kent.

Mandy Catchpole, Deputy Director Infection Prevention for Sussex Health and Care Partnership organised the conference with the CCG Infection Prevention Team. She said:

“Over the last 18 months, Infection prevention and control has been really under the spotlight. I wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate infection prevention nursing but also to say thank you to the system from an infection prevention perspective. Health and social care partners are following national guidance to prevent the spread of COVID19 throughout this pandemic and this was a way of sharing learning locally, regionally and nationally.

“As systems start to look towards recover Sussex wanted to share learning not just about COVID but about the importance of reducing other healthcare associated infections and the Impact that all Infections have for patients and those using our services.

“It’s been invaluable to be able to share patient experience – we had patients from across Sussex talking about their experience of COVID and the impact of long COVID on their lives, reminding us that we must keep patient at the heart of all of our decision making from commissioning, building new premises, procurement and the delivery of care. Infection Prevention is a thread that runs through all of these important decisions.”

The Sussex conference was about providing education and knowledge, sharing learning and networking in Sussex and beyond. The learning from Sussex ICS was shared amongst NHS Trusts and Local authority partners with a ‘Question time’ event which saw clinicians; doctors, nurses and others, having honest conversations about infection prevention learning from the pandemic and the development of future ways of working.

Mandy added:

“Across the country people are going through infection prevention fatigue, events like this remind us that it’s more than hands face space, they are about reminding ourselves why it’s so important and what it means for the people we serve.”

Speakers included:

  • Ruth May | Chief Nursing Officer, England
  • Dr Jon Otter |  Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Infectious Disease, Imperial College London
  • Martin Kiernan | Visiting Clinical Fellow, Richard Wells Research Centre, University of West London
  • Dr Gemma Stacey | Director at Florence Nightingale Foundation Academy
  • Julie Storr, Independent Global Health Consultant & Past President of the Infection Prevention Society of the UK & Ireland