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Infection control in the built environment

Published on 17 June 2022

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.

Chapter 4 of the National Infection Prevention and control manual – Infection Control in the Built Environment and Decontamination exists as a repository for evidence reviews and tools relating to IPC in the built environment including delivery of appropriate decontamination within health and care settings and risk mitigation for water-based pathogens.

Content going forward will be developed via the ARHAI Scotland Infection Control in the Built Environment and Decontamination (ICBED) programme informed by stakeholder engagement and requirements, learning from the NHS Assurance programme and outbreaks and incidents.