Infection Prevention and Control

Update of the 2010 Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (the Guidelines)

Developing or revising guidelines aimed at the prevention and control of infection in healthcare is an example of NHMRC’s strategic priority of ‘effective translation of evidence to improve clinical outcomes and public and environmental health’. The Corporate Plan 2015-2016 identifies key activities that fall under this priority and include providing national leadership in promoting translation of knowledge created through research into clinical practice, health policy and health services and systems. Working with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in HealthCare (ACSQHC) to update the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare is a specified target.

The update of the Guidelines is envisaged to be completed in late 2018. There have been a number of major processes involved in updating the Guidelines. 

A) Establish an expert advisory committee

The Infection Control Guidelines Advisory Committee (ICGAC) was established to oversee and provide expertise on updating the Guidelines. More information on the membership and terms of reference of this group are available below.

B) Identify current international and national evidence and guidelines

A horizon scan was completed by expert consultants from KP Health which identified relevant national and international Guidelines as well as new standards and policies produced by Australian jurisdictions since 2009. The horizon scan allowed the ICGAC and NHMRC Project Team to determine gaps between recommendations in the 2010 Guidelines and more recently published health advice. This information was used to update text and recommendations in the Guidelines.

Based on the horizon scan and the expert opinions of the ICGAC, it was identified that a more extensive literature search was required for the following topics

C) Undertake evidence reviews

Monash University and the University of South Australia were engaged from NHMRC’s Health Evidence Panel, following a competitive tender process, to undertake the systematic and literature reviews described above. These reviews underwent a process of independent methodological review to ensure they followed the systematic and rigorous approach specified in the corresponding research protocols.

D) Update the Guidelines

Based on the findings of the reviews, as well as evidence identified in the horizon scan, the recommendations and text within the Guidelines were updated where new evidence had emerged. NHMRC uses the GRADE approach for developing recommendations.

E) Undertake consultation

The next step in the process will be a public consultation on the draft updated Guidelines, expected to occur in early 2018. More information about the public consultation will be available shortly.

This will be followed by an Expert Review of the draft updated Guidelines.

Infection Control Guidelines Advisory Committee (ICGAC)

NHMRC in consultation with ACSQHC established the ICGAC to provide guidance and advice on this project.

Appointment Process for the Committee

The ICGAC is an advisory committee established by a CEO delegate, under section 39 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992. The committee was selected to ensure appropriate expertise in the key areas of infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and/or microbiology, healthcare associated infection, paediatrics, evidence-based methodologies (e.g. epidemiology, systematic review methodology), inflection control in a dental setting, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and consumer representation.

Terms of Reference

The ICGAC will oversee and provide expertise in updating the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2010 Guidelines) to ensure it reflects the best available evidence and is current and relevant for the Australian context. As per the 2010 Guidelines, the updated guidelines will aim to promote and facilitate the overall goal of infection prevention and control: ‘The creation of safe healthcare environments through the implementation of practices that minimise the risk of transmission of infectious agents’.

The ICGAC will:

  1. Determine the scope of the guideline update based on consideration of:
    1. the currency, accuracy and relevance of the existing 2010 Guidelines;
    2. feedback provided by the broader community and healthcare sector on the 2010 Guidelines, including new areas for potential inclusion;
    3. the results of a horizon scan funded by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission), that identifies and assesses the quality of guidelines published since the 2010 Guidelines;
    4. committee member’s knowledge/expertise of current evidence or practice in infection prevention and control in Australia; and
    5. any other information deemed relevant by the Office of NHMRC or the Commission.
  2. Advise on the evidence evaluation required to update the 2010 Guidelines by:
    1. identifying and prioritising topics requiring the identification of new evidence published since the search period for the 2010 Guidelines; and
    2. advising on the scope and clinical questions for the evaluation/s, and methods to identify and evaluate relevant evidence.
  3. Oversee the update of the 2010 Guidelines by considering (1) and (2) above. This may include, but is not limited to providing advice on:
    1. developing recommendations using NHMRC’s preferred method;
    2. key stakeholders to be included in consultation activities; and
    3. comments received during consultation and expert review on the draft revised Guidelines.

The ICGAC will report to NHMRC’s Council.

Appointments to the ICGAC commenced on 25 January 2016 and will be effective until 31 December 2018.

Contact the ICGAC

Postal address

Infection Control Guidelines Team
National Health and Medical Research Council
GPO Box 1421
Canberra ACT 2601

Email address

icg@nhmrc.gov.au

Please note: Members of the ICGAC are unable to respond to individual enquiries.

Member information and Disclosure of Interests

NHMRC asked each Infection Control Guideline Advisory Committee member to document their interests, as part of the process of the establishment of any NHMRC committee. Members were asked to consider perceived interests as well as real interests.

Members were specifically asked to identify, to the best of their ability, interests relating to infection control guideline work including:

  • relevant financial activities;
  • relevant professional or organisational experience; and
  • other relationships or activities.  

Throughout the project members are required to inform NHMRC of any changes to their interests, and management strategies are put in place as needed.

ICGAC Members

Professor Brett Mitchell (Chair)

Professor of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Health and Director Lifestyle Research Centre – Avondale College.

Relevant experience:

Infection Prevention and Control

Professor Allen Cheng

Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and the Director of Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology Unit at Alfred Health.

Relevant experience:

Infectious Disease Physician and Epidemiology

Professor Peter Collignon AM

Executive Director, ACT Pathology; Infectious Diseases Physician and Microbiologist - Canberra Hospital and Professor, Medical School at the Australian National University.

Relevant experience:

Infectious Disease Physician, Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobial Resistance

Ms Sylvia Gandossi

Infection Prevention and Control Consultant, Western Diagnostics Pathology; Member, Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control.

Relevant experience:

Infection Prevention and Control

Dr Thomas Gottlieb

Senior Staff Specialist Microbiology and Infectious Diseases – Concord Hospital; Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases – University of Sydney.

Relevant experience:

Infectious diseases, Microbiology and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR

Dr Jan Gralton

Senior Project Officer – Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in HealthCare.

Relevant experience:

Implementation

Ms Linda Henderson

Infection Control Consultant; Infection Control Nurse Advisor – South Australian Health; Member of the Commission’s National Hand Hygiene Advisory Committee.

Relevant experience:

Healthcare Associated Infections

Dr Sharon Liberali

Senior Clinical Lecturer – School of Dentistry at the University of Adelaide; Clinical Examiner – Australian Dental Council; Clinical Supervisor; Chair, Infection Control Committee – Australian Dental Association.

Relevant experience:

Dental

Dr Deborough Macbeth

Assistant Director of Nursing – Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service

Relevant experience:

Healthcare Associated Infections and Nursing

Ms Rebecca McCann

Program Manager, Healthcare Associated Infection Unit, Communicable Disease Control Directorate – Department of Health (Western Australia)

Relevant experience:

Implementation 

Professor Peter Morris

Deputy Head, Child Health Division, Menzies School of Health Research; Editor, Acute Respiratory Infections Group of The Cochrane Collaboration.

Relevant experience:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Paediatrics and Evidence Based Practice

Ms Mary Potter

Active in both state and national health issues from a consumer/community stand point; A member on numerous healthy committees in New South Wales; previous member of the Board – Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control.

Relevant experience:

Consumer Representative

Dr Philip Russo

Research Fellow, Deakin/Alfred Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research.

Relevant experience:

Infection Prevention and Epidemiology