History of the IPS

The need for infection control.

The 1950s was a period when staphylococcal infections were widespread in hospitals both in the UK and abroad, despite the introduction of antibiotics. At Torbay it was felt that appointing a suitable nurse to a full-time position would control cross infections in patients. So the first ICN was appointed in April 1959.

Infection control conferences begin.

Following the establishment of Infection Control as a specialty in the 1960s the first recorded 3 day conference in this field was held at Lyngford House, Taunton. 17 Infection Control Sisters, including Miss Jorgensen from Hellerup, Denmark, met to discuss their problems, report progress and plan future collaborative studies. It was such a success they met again the following year. By 1969 the annual meeting was in Birmingham with 45 participants, 41 from the UK & 4 visitors from Denmark, Sweden Holland & the USA.

Infection Control Nurses Association (ICNA) formed

The ICNA was formed at the 1970 conference, held at Bristol University with Dr Brendan Moore elected President and Mr A Isbister as the new Chairman of the Association. Since then an annual conference has been organised with a different venue chosen each year, initially at a University campus. (Sheffield - 1971, Manchester - 1972, Oxford - 1973) and then as the event grew in size it moved to a purpose built conference centre. The latest venues to be used at the Harrogate International Centre, Bournemouth International Centre, ACC Liverpool and the Excel Centre London.

It was decided in 1984 to hold the first International ICNA meeting and this took place in the Victorian spa town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The event attracted delegates from far afield; America, Australia, Africa and South East Asia. Following such success every 4th annual conference was designated an international conference, and was titled The International Conference on Infection Control. This tradition finished in 2004 with the event being held in Belfast.

ICNA becomes the Infection Prevention Society (IPS)

At the annual conference 2006 the ICNA membership voted to expand the membership to include any health professionals employed in the field of infection prevention and control. The membership also voted in favour of a name change to reflect the expanded membership, opting for the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) which was officially formed on the 4th June 2007.  

The focus in recent years has been to develop a clear strategy for the Society to make sure that its voice is heard by all those with an interest in Infection Prevention and Control.

There has also been a focus on rebranding of the Society with a new logo launched in 2011 and a move towards the Society's branding running through all documentation and web pages in order to enhance our presence. In recent times IPS has launched a new website and social media accounts in support of its vision, mission and strategy.