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The British Infection Association was formed through the merger of the British Infection Society with the Association of Medical Microbiologists, and is one of the major UK professional societies working in the field of infection.


The merger reinforces the collaborative spirit of infection specialists working together to optimise the diagnosis and management of patients with infection. The BIA exists to promote the science and practice of medicine in relation to infection, and provide support for all infection specialists, and those in training, whether in the field of clinical practice, laboratory medicine, public health, research or education.

The association is committed to working collaboratively with other professional bodies and external agencies to produce standards and evidence-based guidance to improve patient care, and public and professional awareness of infection management, prevention and control.

As President of the BIA, I feel there are a great number of challenges which lie ahead for the Association whilst working under the new Coalition Government, these include:

• Building on recent progress in reducing HCAI, recognising there is more to this than controlling C difficile infection and reducing MRSA bacteraemias;
• Working together with the DH and others to generate a meaningful practical strategy to tackle HCAI issues, such as ventilator associated pneumonia;
• Working together with clinicians in primary and secondary care to eliminate unnecessary use of antibiotics;
• Promoting antibiotic stewardship as key to achieving control of HCAI and minimising the risk of bacterial antibiotic resistance for future generations;
• Encouraging research into and the development of new antimicrobial agents by the pharmaceutical industry;
• Maintaining high quality microbiology diagnostic services within new configurations of pathology and wider hospital services – including recognition of the importance of responsive microbiology services in hospital infection control, and public health epidemiology and future strategies.

I believe all of the above will deliver Clinical concern, however the encouragement and influence that government could bring to bear on the pharmaceutical industry as regards the development of novel antimicrobial agents is both exciting and important to the future of the BIA.

What we must remember is that reducing HCAIs is everybody’s business – this includes the government, the media and public, as well as healthcare professionals.

The healthcare economy needs to apply an integrated approach to minimise the risk of HCAI through good clinical practice, antibiotic stewardship and infection control. The public needs to be informed of the problems associated with over-use of antibiotics, and be prepared to take on the message that antibiotics do not have a role to play in the treatment of suspected viral infection.

November 18th is European Antibiotic Awareness day, and this is a key opportunity to emphasise the importance of responsible antibiotic use and prescribing. Information for both the public and healthcare professionals can be found on the EAAD website (

I would hope that the BIA will firmly embed itself in the setting of the UK healthcare agenda as regards infection, but will also promote research and development of new technologies and innovative ways of working to promote optimal patient management and infection prevention and control.

We are already fully engaged with working collaboratively with other professional groups to provide authoritative guidance on the management of specific infections and infection control strategies, and would aim to expand this work over the coming years. The BIA will also be working closely with the Royal Colleges to establish and implement effective training for the infection specialists of the future.

Written by Jane Stockley
Friday, 08 October 2010 14:02

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