Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard

The following content is being updated. Please follow this link for a copy of the 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard.

For information on transitioning from 2017 Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard to 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard, please follow this link to the fact sheet.

Intention of this standard

The Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard aims to improve infection prevention and control measures to help prevent infections, and the spread of antimicrobial resistance through the appropriate prescribing and use of antimicrobials.


Systems are in place to support and promote prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections, and improve antimicrobial stewardship.

Action groups

Integrating clinical governance

Applying quality improvement systems

Partnering with consumers


Evidence-based systems are used to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections. Patients presenting with, or with risk factors for, infection or colonisation with an organism of local, national or global significance are identified promptly, and receive the necessary management and treatment. The health service organisation is clean and hygienic.

Action groups

Standard and transmission-based precautions

Hand hygiene

Aseptic technique

Invasive medical devices

Clean environment

Workforce immunisation

Reprocessing of reusable equipment, instruments and devices is consistent with relevant current national standards, and meets current best practice.

Action groups

Reprocessing of reusable medical devices

The health service organisation implements systems for the safe and appropriate prescribing and use of antimicrobials as part of an antimicrobial stewardship program.

Action groups

Antimicrobial stewardship

Background to this standard

Many healthcare-associated infections are thought to be preventable. Australian and overseas studies have demonstrated mechanisms to reduce the rate of infections associated with health care. Infection prevention and control practice aims to minimise the risk of transmission by identifying and isolating patients harbouring infectious agents and resistant organisms. However, just as there is no single cause of infection, there is no single solution to preventing infections. Successful infection prevention and control practice requires a variety of strategies across the healthcare system.

The Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard has been developed in line with the recommendations and evidence in the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare. This standard aims to prevent patients from acquiring preventable healthcare-associated infections, and to effectively manage these infections when they occur by using evidence-based strategies. It should be applied in conjunction with the Clinical Governance Standard, the Partnering with Consumers Standard and the Medication Safety Standard.

Although infection prevention and control programs have essential elements that must be considered, it is expected that programs will be tailored to reflect the local context and risk. Key tasks will be tailored to reflect the complexity of services offered and the risks associated with delivery of services in the organisation. Regardless of the size or type of the health service organisation, successful implementation of this standard depends on clinicians and executive leaders working together within a strong governance framework.