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Hospital-acquired infection report released

6 May 2004 Media release – Health Committee

Hospital-acquired infection report released

Better monitoring of infections acquired in hospitals is needed, a Health Committee report has found. Currently information on such infections is collected by District Health Boards, but data collection standards are not consistent across the health sector.

The Health Committee today presented to the House its report on its inquiry into hospital-acquired infection. This report follows a report released in June 2003 by the Controller and Auditor-General on the management of hospital-acquired infection in public hospitals. The Controller and Auditor-General’s report comprehensively examined infection control procedures in New Zealand public hospitals and made 39 recommendations about how to improve such procedures.

The committee was pleased by the detail and scope of the Controller and Auditor-General’s report, and has closely followed the implementation of its recommendations by the Ministry of Health and individual District Health Boards.

“The implementation of the Auditor-General’s recommendations is essential to reassure the public about the safety and quality of public health in New Zealand,” committee chairperson Steve Chadwick said. “We also consider that higher priority should be given by the Ministry of Health to establishing a national surveillance programme for hospital-acquired infection.”

“We consider that the Ministry of Health should set and enforce nationwide standards that apply to the collection of data on hospital-acquired infection rates and hospital-acquired bloodstream infection rates,” Mrs Chadwick said. “We also consider that the public should be able to easily access regularly updated information on infections through a Ministry of Health website.”

The committee supports initiatives already undertaken by the Ministry of Health and the District Health Boards and will monitor further work in this area.

The committee’s report can be viewed at


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