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Foreword

      In March 2013, my Annual Report on ‘Infection and the rise of antimicrobial resistance’
      Annual Report of the Chief Medical Offi cer, Volume 2, 2011. 2013, (Davies, S.C. “Annual Report of the Chief Medical Offi cer, Volume 2, 2011, Infections and the rise of antimicrobial resistance” London: Department of Health (2013))
      aAnnual Report of the Chief Medical Offi cer, Volume 2, 2011. 2013, (Davies, S.C. “Annual Report of the Chief Medical Offi cer, Volume 2, 2011, Infections and the rise of antimicrobial resistance” London: Department of Health (2013))
      highlighted the need for healthcare professionals to understand and put into practice the principles of infection prevention and control in order to improve patient outcomes. These updated guidelines underpin and provide the knowledge base to inform this understanding, and I commend them to you.
      Good infection prevention and control practice reduces our need to use antibiotics and minimises the transmission of infection, including those caused by antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, thereby improving patient safety.
      These guidelines commissioned by the Department of Health are aimed at a range of healthcare professionals. They have been developed after a systematic and expert review of all the available scientific evidence, and update and supersede the previous guidelines on this topic published in 2007. The guidelines provide the evidence base for many elements of clinical practice that are essential in minimising the spread of antimicrobial-resistant organisms, and maintaining high standards of infection prevention and control that can be adapted for use locally by all healthcare practitioners.
      The principles set out in these guidelines also provide the evidence base to support elements of the implementation of the 5-year UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy.