Researchers launch £4.2m network tackling hospital infections

24 March 2015

Health Minister Shona Robison launches the SHAIPI network

Health Minister Shona Robison launches the SHAIPI network

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is a partner in a £4.2m virtual research network with a programme of work streams aimed at tackling healthcare associated infections.

The five-year Scottish Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Institute (SHAIPI) is a consortium of universities and NHS partners, funded by the Scottish Government. Health Secretary Shona Robison is announcing the launch of SHAIPI with a visit to the University of Glasgow to meet the implementation group today.

Ms Robison said: “We are committed in our drive to tackling and reducing the spread of healthcare-associated infections. In recent years, we have made significant progress in making our hospitals safer, with cases of C.Diff and MRSA falling in 2014 to among their lowest levels on record.

“This significant investment towards research in this area will allow us to take the next step in our fight to bring down infection levels even further. This is one of the single biggest research grants awarded in recent years that aims to investigate ways to further reduce healthcare-associated infections.”

GCU researchers will work with teams at the University of Glasgow, the NHS, the University of Strathclyde, University of Edinburgh, University of Dundee and University of St Andrews to develop an internationally recognised institute for excellence in healthcare associated infections research.

The consortium of researchers will be led by Professor Alistair Leanord, Director of the Scottish Infection Research Network, at the University of Glasgow. He said: “This new Institute will allow researchers from a number of universities throughout Scotland to work together, alongside the NHS, to develop and use state of the art methods to identify, prevent and treat patients affected by healthcare associated infections.”

This work will span molecular epidemiology, informatics and applied infection prevention and control, the latter being led by a GCU team including Professor Jacqui Reilly, Dr Kay Currie, Dr Christina Knussen, Dr Sue Lang and Dr Lesley Price. A PhD studentship will also be supported by GCU.

GCU will lead the work stream on applied infection prevention and control. Researchers will aim to provide new policy and practice impact in NHS Scotland and internationally by providing evidence for standard and transmission based infection control precautions such as hand hygiene and glove use, and providing evidence of the patient experience and acceptability of infection prevention and control related interventions.

GCU’s Dr Kay Currie will lead innovative qualitative work on the patient experience of HAI. Dr Currie said: “The current drive towards person-centred approaches to healthcare requires that policy makers and practitioners understand what matters to patients and the public. Our research will provide a strong evidence base to promote that understanding and will embed patient perspectives at the core of HAI prevention strategies.”

This new research builds on previous GCU-led research which has contributed to infection prevention in healthcare in the UK and Europe by stimulating policy debate and investment in new healthcare practice and influencing policy decisions, evidence guidelines, and educational practices.

Professor Jacqui Reilly, who is the GCU lead for this consortium, said: “Healthcare associated infections are an unintended consequence of healthcare delivery and they are damaging and distressing to patients and their families. This research will lead to better evidence for practice to improve care and prevent avoidable infections in the future.”