Reducing the risk of infection

Infection control at Devon Partnership NHS TrustHelping to reduce the risk of infection in the hospital environment is everyone’s responsibility. Germs can be brought into our wards and units by anyone and can then be spread to other people. We take the prevention and control of infection very seriously have a dedicated and passionate Infection Prevention and Control Team. All our staff receive regular training and are kept up-to-date with how to protect the people who use our services, visitors and themselves.

Our Infection Prevention and Control Team works very closely with staff and helps to advise where and how people with specific infections should be cared for, depending on the type of germ or infection concerned. It is important that our staff take precautions to stop germs spreading. For this reason staff will sometimes wear protective clothing, such as aprons and gloves, when caring for people. This will be the case whether they have an infection or not.

Hand hygiene is the most important way to prevent infection. Visitors play a key role in supporting us to remain infection free by making sure hands have been washed and by not visiting wards and units if they have suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting in the previous 48 hours. Our staff take infections seriously and are committed to keeping the people who use our services as safe and healthy as possible.


Whilst the number of MRSA cases in our Trust is extremely low, national guidance plus local policy require us to screen some people who use our services who are identified as being possibly at risk of MRSA infection. An information sheet explaining what MRSA is, and how the screening takes place will be given to anyone this applies to on admission. An electronic copy is available below.

It’s OK to ask!

We take hand hygiene seriously but sometimes when we’re really busy, we might not clean our hands as often as we should. So if you’re worried that we’ve forgotten, it’s OK to remind us! We welcome your help in keeping you safe.

What causes infection?

Infections are never caused by dirt – they are caused by ‘bugs’ or germs.  These include bacteria and viruses. They are sometimes on our skin, and even in our mouths and noses. Most of them don’t do us any harm. But when we are unwell or frail, due to illness or after an operation, the body's natural defences are weaker, so more care is needed to protect us.