Polish health authority first in Europe to recommend antimicrobial copper in hospitals

Revised accreditation standards for healthcare facilities recommend incorporation of antimicrobial copper touch surfaces as an infection prevention and control measure

Healthcare facilities applying for NCQA accreditation may be granted between three and five points for installing antimicrobial copper surfaces

Poland’s National Centre for Quality Assessment in Healthcare (NCQA) has revised its accreditation standards for healthcare facilities to include Europe’s first official recommendation that antimicrobial copper touch surfaces are incorporated as an infection prevention and control measure.

Poland’s Hospital Accreditation Programme has existed since 1998 to encourage healthcare facilities to improve not only the quality and efficacy of services, but also patient safety standards. It provides a structured process of external assessment, carried out by the NCQA and based on measurable criteria and accepted standards.

NCQA is a Polish Ministry of Health body authorised to conduct a hospital accreditation programme in Poland. To obtain accreditation, hospitals are required to demonstrate appropriate procedures are in place and followed. In the accreditation standards, Chapter IX ‘Infection Control’ provides guidelines concerning the prevention of pathogen transmission by touch.

The Minister of Health explained: 'Healthcare-associated infections may be a source of substantial iatrogenic harm [undesirable or unwanted effect caused by therapeutic intervention]. It is therefore essential to limit both their number and severity.'

The new chapter states: 'Reduction of microbial transmission should be achieved, inter alia, using frequently-touched surfaces made from metals with antimicrobial properties, such as copper, brass and bronze, as per the US Environmental Protection Agency’s registration.'

Healthcare facilities applying for NCQA accreditation may be granted between three and five points for installing antimicrobial copper surfaces, depending on the percentage of touch surfaces used.

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