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Infection control in the built environment

Published on 31 May 2021

The provision of a safe environment for those receiving healthcare is essential and has an important role in preventing HAIs (healthcare associated infections). The built environment in healthcare covers the construction and adaptation of healthcare buildings, as well as the design and provision of healthcare services in all clinical areas. It is essential that infection prevention and control (IPC) is included throughout these processes.

We review current built environment technical guidance ensuring that IPC is taken into consideration and provide advice and support to NHS boards. Support with technical engineering expertise for the built environment is provided by Health Facilities Scotland.

We provide NHS boards with evidence based guidance on areas of the built environment, including recent literature reviews on surgical site infection risks and HAI risks associated with healthcare ventilation systems. Future work will include a built environment chapter in the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM).