Today it became official that the Dutch Workingparty on Infection Prevention (WIP) will no longer be supported by funds from the Dutch Ministry of Health. Therefore, after 30-years of coordinated, voluntary work by infection control nurses, infectious diseases specialists, and clinical microbiologists (supported and strengthened by various, topic-specific healthcare professions) the number one IPC guideline organization found a sudden and in-part unexpected death. I am proud to have been part of the WIP, which was rightfully seen as one of the beacons of IPC, admired by many countries who had none or by far not as well organized guideline organization. The WIP was fundamental to the success of Infection Control in the Netherlands and even if some say that it wasn’t the only contributing factor, all those doing Infection Control know that the present state of AMR and HAI control could not have been achieved without the WIP. Was all the WIP produced “gold”? Certainly not. Despite best intentions some recent guidelines went over the top, but overall the set of guidelines produced by the WIP are of high quality and an enormous treasure, that might now be lost for the future.
Rumor has it that Dutch Public Health Services, the Professional Society for Elderly Care Specialists (Verenso) and other professional medical societies will take it on them to issue infection control guidelines (in part for their own specialty). If that is truly the case, why stop at killing coordinated and independent Infection Control guidelines, why not take over Infection Control at whole, starting with surveillance. I can ensure (by the lessons of the past) that HAI rate will immediately drop by up to 50%. The Dutch have a nice saying about situations that are wrong by default and don’t leave you with a lot of trust or hope: “The butcher who checks the quality and safety of his own meat”.
I believe that only an independent, integrated and coordinated approach (= by one organizational structure) can ensure the basics of effective and sound infection control. If the Dutch Ministry of Health and the medical professional societies are serious about their engagement to control AMR and HAI, in my opinion, a future solution can only be the formation of a WIP 2.0.