History of Infection Prevention & Control in Ireland

The history of Infection Control nursing in Ireland dates back to 1975 when the first “Infection Control Sister” Jane Strong was appointed in the Mater Hospital, Dublin. This appointment coincided with several major developments in hospital infection control during that time. These included appointments of consultant microbiologists and new laboratory facilities, which provided much needed man power and the physical resources to monitor emerging hospital infection patterns and to standardise infection control processes and procedures. This in turn greatly advanced hospital infection control in Ireland at that time.

The Infection Control Nurses Association (ICNA) was founded in 1970 and was the first professional association representing infection prevention and control nurses in the world. In the absence of a national professional body, over the next three decades many of the Irish Infection Prevention and Control Nurses joined the ICNA to network and share information and learning with like minded professionals. In 2006 the ICNA was re-branded to come the Infection Prevention Society (IPS)

In the intervening years national structures within Ireland have changed to reflect the growing need for robust infection prevention and control standards. With the advent of national guideline and surveillance development through the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and the National Clinical Excellence Committee (NCEC), as well as regulation and monitoring provided by the Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA) the landscape of healthcare provision in Ireland has changed dramatically.

Following a national ballot, IPCI was formed in November 2015 to meet the specific needs of infection prevention and control specialists and associated healthcare professionals providing care and advice within the Irish healthcare system.