Healthcare Associated Infections

There are around 165,0001 healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in Australian health facilities each year, making them the most common complication affecting patients in hospital. A HAI can cause great suffering to patients. They can also impact on healthcare resources. It is estimated that HAIs account for two million hospital bed days in Australia each year.2 Most HAIs are potentially preventable adverse events, rather than an unpredictable complication in health.

Healthcare associated infections can occur in any healthcare setting, but it is possible to significantly reduce the rate with effective infection prevention and control. Patients, visitors and staff - regardless of location or position - all play a role in the reduction of HAIs. Good Infection Prevention and Control practices are important to promote patient safety and reduce HAIs.

Refer to Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare – The NSQHS standards for more information.



  1. Mitchell BG, Shaban RZ, MacBeth D, Wood CJ, Russo PL. The burden of healthcare-associated infection in Australian hospitals: a systematic review of the literature. Infection, Disease & Health. 2017 Sep 1;22(3):117-28.
  2. NSQHS Standards 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard.