Scottish Surveillance of Healthcare Associated Infection Programme (SSHAIP)

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Background To HAI Surveillance

This section aims to give a brief overview of HAI surveillance and to clarify the roles


In 2001, the Scottish Executive released a Health Department Letter, HDL(2001)57, requiring the mandatory implementation of surveillance of

In 2006, a revised framework for National Surveillance of Healthcare Associated Infection in Scotland specified in HDL(2006)38, added mandatory surveillance of the following:

National HAI Steering Group directs the SSHAIP team's activities and since the team was established several further voluntary surveillance programmes have been developed under the steering groups guidance. These projects include surveillance of

View the National HAI Steering Group Tterms of Reference

Why do surveillance of HAI?

It is thought that 9% of people who are in-patients develop a HAI. This has serious implications for morbidity and mortality and the costs of treatment associated with these.

Surveillance is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data essential to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice, closely integrated with the timely dissemination of these data to those who need to know. The final link of the surveillance chain is the application of these data to prevention and control (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1988).

What are the objectives of HAI surveillance?

  • Monitor the incidence of infection
  • Provide early warning and investigation of problems and subsequent planning and intervention to control
  • Monitor trends, including the detection of outbreaks
  • Examine the impact of interventions
  • Gain information on the quality of care
  • Prioritise the allocation of resources

What is the role of HPS?

The national system is based on central-local collaboration between HPS and NHS Boards.

  • HPS facilitates, supports and co-ordinates the local surveillance in NHS Boards
  • HPS collates data at national level on behalf of SEHD
  • HPS compiles national reports
  • HPS helps to disseminate good practice

Who will carry out the surveillance?

Local Infection Control Teams are responsible for implementation of surveillance with the close collaboration, involvement and participation of other relevant groups of staff.

What should NHS Boards be doing?

NHS Boards should ensure that the necessary resources are available to support the surveillance programme. Infection Control Teams and senior managers should agree with clinicians those procedures which are a priority for surveillance and identify which personnel will be responsible for data collection.

How will data be collected? Can we manage our own data? How can HPS help?

To enable national surveillance, minimum datasets are required, their collection is based on the use of standardised definitions and methodology. Protocols including all of this information are available online or from the SSHAIP team at HPS.

Infection control teams and their collaborators will make decisions on how the data should be collected and managed, given the resources that are available to them. HPS can provide the appropriate level of help requested by trusts, ranging from comprehensive support in the design and production of data collection forms and with data entry and analysis, to receiving the Boards minimum data sets for inclusion in the national data set. The SSHAIP team can also provide training sessions in all of these areas.

Who has access to the results?

Individual NHS Boards results will be returned to NHS Boards with the aim of evaluating performance within the Clinical Governance agenda.

National reports will be published in the HPS Weekly Report and in the relevant sections of this website.

Who can I contact for further information?

Abigail Mullings will be happy to provide further information and Sonja Millar should be contacted, in the first instance, for any SSHAIP queries.