Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Proceedings and BioMed Central.

This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

Open Access Poster presentation

Evolution of healthcare-associated infection surveillance in England: initiatives, implementation and opportunities for innovation

R Freeman

  • Correspondence: R Freeman

Author Affiliations

Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Imperial College London, London, UK

BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P229  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P229

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Freeman; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

Surveillance data needs to be capable of; identifying clusters; tracking trends; assessing the effectiveness of interventions; and providing timely results. This research assesses whether this is the case for healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance systems in England, and endeavours to understand why in certain areas surveillance has not been more successful.


A systematic search of the literature was carried out. Original search results identified additional Government, committee and conference reports and guidelines.


Surveillance of HCAIs and AMR has developed over time in response to numerous stimuli. The implementation of novel surveillance systems are often in response to issues identified through passive surveillance and research. Evidence of rising infection or resistance rates have caught the attention of the Government (and the media) occasionally leading to enhanced surveillance of specific infections to monitor progress towards targets. Several independent studies have concluded that post-discharge surveillance after surgery is required to provide more accurate surgical site infection rates. Funding for surveillance programmes has come from various sources including the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in AMR surveillance.


Some surveillance schemes have been successfully implemented, partially fulfilling criteria. However, many clinical areas have yet to see advances in HCAI surveillance specific to their area and are reliant upon generic passive surveillance systems. Future development of surveillance systems to rapidly identify clusters and outbreaks, and patients at increased risk of acquiring infection will ensure that control measures are best directed to prevent further cases occurring.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.