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Infection prevention and control

Hospital Acquired Infections

You may have heard about hospital acquired infections (HAIs).

At the Oxford University Hospitals we keep a record of the number of cases of the infections known as MRSA and Clostridium Difficile (C Difficile).

MRSA: advice for visitors

You can reduce the chance of spreading MRSA by not sitting on a patient's bed and by cleaning your hands before and after entering the ward. Please use the hand gel provided.

Clostridium Difficile: advice for visitors

If you are visiting someone who has diarrhoea or a stomach upset, please do not bring any children under the age of 12 with you. Please also:

  • wash your hands with soap and water when entering and leaving ward areas
  • avoid visiting if you are feeling unwell or have recently had diarrhoea
  • observe all visiting guidelines.

Infection Prevention and Control Team

We have an Infection Prevention and Control Team to make sure that we reduce the risk of infection, especially in these important areas.

  • Intravenous lines (Ivs or 'drips'). These are routinely used for giving blood, fluids or drugs to patients. Occasionally these devices can cause infection where they pass through the skin.
  • Hand hygiene. Good hand hygiene helps prevent the transfer of infection from one patient to another.
  • 'Root cause analysis'. Ward staff and the Infection Prevention and Control Team investigate all MRSA bloodstream infections, to help us prevent and deal with future cases.
  • MRSA screening.

Day-to-day activity also involves:

  • keeping policies and procedures up-to-date
  • making sure we follow our policies and guidance
  • monitoring all infections that occur in our hospitals, so that any problems can be dealt with as soon as possible
  • teaching all our staff how to minimise the spread of infection
  • advising staff about specific incidents where there is a risk of infection.


Oxford University Hospitals is one of three trusts working with the UKCRC Modernising Medical Microbiology consortium to study how better identification of bugs (Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile and Norovirus) can improve infection control.

More information about the study can be found at the link below:

Everyone can help reduce infection

Everyone can help prevent the spread of infection in the hospital.

The single most effective measure in preventing the spread of infection is actually simple hand hygiene. Better hand hygiene can save lives and is something we can all do - staff, patients and visitors.

All staff have access to alcohol gel which kills the germs that live on your skin. It is actually more effective than soap and water.

You will find alcohol gel dispensers at the entrance to wards. Please do use them - especially if you are visiting friends or relatives, or if you are going to have any contact with patients.

Healthcare-associated infections, infections acquired during health care delivery, are common and are a risk factor for developing sepsis, but we can prevent this. Effective hand hygiene plays a key role.

Video - wash your hands!