“Prevention is better than cure… especially when there is no cure”
Dr. Phillip Norville has over 10 years’ experience working with healthcare organisations, helping improve and implement effective infection prevention solutions. Phil has a PhD in microbiology from the University of Cardiff and a Master of Science in infection prevention and control from the University of Dundee. He is an honorary lecturer at Cardiff University, where he supervises both PhD and post-doctoral research, focusing on areas including environmental contamination, microbial biofilm formation and antimicrobial surfaces. As Clinical & Scientific Director for GAMA Healthcare, Phil collaborates with other experts to drive innovation in the field of infection prevention. He leads a team of experienced infection preventionists, making sure GAMA’s offering is clinically proven and industry-leading.
Why is infection prevention and control (IPC) so important?
Prevention is always better than cure… especially if there is no cure (in this case of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), this means antibiotics). This is a message I have consistently promoted in my time at GAMA. We’re seeing an increasing threat from antimicrobial resistance (AMR), where microorganisms develop resistance to various antibiotics, leaving limited treatment options for treating certain infections.
IPC measures can play a vital role in reducing the risk posed by HAIs caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms. Preventing these infections can help mitigate the risk posed by AMR infections.
There’s a significant body of evidence demonstrating that good IPC measures reduce and prevent the risk of patients acquiring HAIs. HAIs cause increased morbidity and mortality, resulting in prolonged patient stay and increased treatment costs. In England alone, the financial burden of HAIs to the National
Health Service (NHS) is estimated to be £2.7 billion a year.
Good hand hygiene, environmental decontamination and patient decolonisation are all excellent examples of how IPC measures can reduce the risk of patients acquiring HAIs in healthcare settings.
What’s the first thing we need to know about infection prevention?
IPC is a complex topic that’s constantly evolving. It’s difficult to pin it down to a single thing. One of the most important issues right now is maintaining some of the good habits established in light of the COVID pandemic.
Things like frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitiser, good environmental hygiene (use of wipes or sprays to clean and disinfect surfaces), respecting social distancing guidelines and the use of face masks can prevent transmission of microorganisms and reduce infections.
You mentioned good environmental hygiene there. We’ve heard a lot about hand hygiene, social distancing, and masks throughout the COVID pandemic, but what role does the environment play in transmitting infection?
Surface disinfection is a cornerstone of infection prevention. It’s not just COVID; the link between the environment and HAIs is well established. We know microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) can survive in the environment for prolonged periods of time and can be transferred to the hands of healthcare staff and patients (potentially spreading HAIs). Environmental decontamination reduces the number of microorganisms in the environment through physical removal and the killing action of disinfectants, which can reduce the risk of infection from these microorganisms.
How does GAMA Healthcare approach IPC differently to other companies?
I’ve always viewed GAMA as being an infection prevention & control (IPC) solutions company, providing solutions that overcome IPC problems. For example, Clinell Universal Wipes were the first wipes to combine cleaning & disinfection into a single step, replacing the need for two separate processes and products. No other companies were looking at IPC through that lens of saving end-users time and increasing compliance.
Overall, I think a combination of different elements set GAMA apart. GAMA is an infection prevention solutions company first and foremost. Our primary focus is always on overcoming IPC problems. Product development is a huge part of that; our state-of-the-art Research and Development (R&D) facility in Halifax allows the GAMA R&D team to dedicate time and resources to developing products with exceptional efficacy (which microorganism the products are effective against), material compatibility and skin safety.
On top of developing the right products, we need to support their implementation and make sure they’re used correctly. All these elements are supported by an industry-leading educational training and support offer.
Innovation is a huge part of GAMA’s culture – Rediroom is a prime example of that. It provides a novel way to tackle the issue of patient isolation. Healthcare facilities are frequently stretched by a lack of patient isolation capacity. This was true for a long time but was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rediroom starts as a mobile PPE cart that can be deployed into an isolation room in under 5 minutes. It’s designed for contact and droplet precautions and employs a HEPA and carbon filter to filter infectious air. We worked in collaboration with clinicians to make sure it would easily fit into their everyday practice – turning that initial innovation into something that can improve IPC practice in real hospitals.
About GAMA Healthcare
GAMA Healthcare is at the forefront of infection prevention technology, driving scientific innovation in surface disinfection and skin hygiene products. Their Clinell Universal Wipes are the NHS’ number 1 most used disinfectant wipe, trusted by 9 out of 10 NHS hospitals to help safeguard patients and healthcare workers from the risk of infection.
GAMA Healthcare was founded in 2004 by two doctors, Dr Guy Braverman and Dr Allen Hanouka, to help save and improve lives. Together they saw a need for clinically proven infection prevention products. Today, their Clinell, Rediroom, Carell and Contiplan product ranges protect people in healthcare, businesses and homes across more than 70 countries.
Find out more at www.gamahealthcare.com