Continued progress but the threat of antimicrobial resistance remains a key concern

Publication Date: 31 May 2016

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has today published the “Healthcare Associated Infection Annual Report 2015”.

This latest report shows that, while rates of selected healthcare associated infections (HAI) have remained stable in Scotland in 2015, continued efforts to tackle HAI and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are required to further reduce risk and ensure patient safety.

Commenting on the report, Professor Jacqui Reilly, HPS Lead Consultant in HAI and AMR, said: “We have seen a levelling trend in the incidence of key HAIs. Notably, rates of surgical site infection, HAIs among patients in Intensive Care Units and Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemias rates have all remained stable. Nonetheless these infections still represent a significant burden on the NHS with thousands of cases each year.

“Although E. coli bacteraemia rates have stabilised following an increasing year on year trend, E. coli bacteraemias are the most common HAIs found in Scotland. Meanwhile, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) numbers increased in the 15-64 years age group compared to the previous year, highlighting that HAIs continue to pose a threat to the delivery of safe care in Scotland.”

The report also highlights the internationally recognised risk of AMR and, in particular, the growing numbers of reported carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs) in Scotland in 2015. This is a particular concern as carbapenems are a last resort antibiotic for a number of serious infections and there will be limited treatment options left if this resistance continues to spread.

Commenting on this, Professor Reilly added: “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains a significant threat to global health. Although the overall numbers remain low in Scotland, CPOs represents a growing public health issue which we must contain.

“HPS continues to work alongside colleagues across NHSScotland to reduce HAI and help prevent and control the spread of AMR including CPOs.”


Leigh Taylor
Health Protection Scotland - Communications Team
Meridian Court
5 Cadogan Street
G2 6QE

Tel: 0141 300 1117

Notes to the Editor

The “Healthcare Associated Infection Annual Report 2015” can be accessed at:

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) is part of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), a special health board providing services critical to frontline patient care and which is supportive of the efficient and effective operation of the NHS in Scotland.

Further information

What are carbapenems?
Carbapenems are a group of powerful antimicrobials which are used to treat a number of serious infections.