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Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Core Capabilities Framework for the Health & Care Workforce

Introduction

Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) are the basic infection prevention and control measures necessary to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious agents from both recognised and unrecognised sources of infection. SICPs must be consistently applied by all staff, in all health and care settings, at all times, for all patients and service users, whether infection is known to be present or not, to ensure the safety of those being cared for, staff and visitors in the care environment.

The UK 5-year Antimicrobial Resistance National Action Plan recognises that equipping professionals for effective infection prevention and control (IPC) practice is not easy. Healthcare in the NHS is provided through a large and disparate system, and the four UK countries vary in their arrangements for improving quality. The social care sector is also fragmented across many providers making it difficult to ensure consistency in policy and practice.

Lessons from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic have highlighted variation in practice and a need for a robust educational framework.

Purpose and scope of the framework

NHS England & Improvement has commissioned Skills for Health to review and develop an IPC education framework for mandatory training which will outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by the health and care workforce to improve the quality of IPC practice and thereby improve health outcomes. The first phase of this work is to develop a core capabilities framework which details the core skills, knowledge and behaviours required to deliver high quality care in the context of IPC i.e. that which is common and transferable across the range of service provision and provide a single, consistent, comprehensive, and explicit framework on which to base review and development of all relevant staff. Initially the focus will be on mandatory training with the focus in later stages being on the specialist IPC workforce.

Development of the framework

An expert advisory group (EAG) will guide the development of the educational framework and a structured career pathway for IPC professionals. Short life working groups/task and finish groups will be established to further develop the detail within the framework once the overarching structure of the framework has been agreed. A consultation will be held later in 2021 in order to engage as many stakeholders as possible.

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