Minimum requirements for hospitals

Hospitals need to meet certain requirements in order to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections (HAI) effectively. Uniform national minimum requirements for acute-care hospitals were published in January 2021.

Science-based and widely supported

The structural minimum standards were developed by a working group led by Swissnoso with the involvement of the relevant professional societies (Swiss Society for Hospital Hygiene SSHH, Swiss Society for Infectious Diseases SSI, the infection-prevention nurses’ group SIPI in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and its German-speaking counterpart fibs ). The catalogue is based on scientific evidence and recommendations from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The FOPH, the GDK and H+ acknowledge the significance of these national minimum requirements and recommend their implementation by the cantons and hospitals.

Requirements in a number of areas

The catalogue defines 7 key components:

  • Guidelines and instructions
  • Material and equipment
  • Organisation of hospital hygiene and staffing
  • Task-oriented training
  • Audits and monitoring
  • Infection monitoring and data evaluation
  • Interventions
Although such measures are already in force in many hospitals, their implementation is very inconsistent – partly because the same conditions do not exist in small hospitals as in large ones. The requirements catalogue developed by Swissnoso takes these differences into account.

Official start of implementing minimum requirements

The first National Symposium on 27 August 2021, organised by Swissnoso, marked the launch of the wide-scale introduction of structural minimum requirements. More than 180 people from cantonal authorities, hospital management staff and hospital hygiene teams took part in the event.

Participants welcomed the opportunity to exchange ideas across professions and disciplines. The discussions highlighted not only the unanimous support for introducing minimim requirements, but also that most hospitals had already implemented many measures.

The mutual exchange of experience continued within the professional groups, and also between the FOPH, the cantonal authorities and hospital management staff. Swissnoso held workshops for infection prevention and control (IPC) specialists in January and August 2022 to facilitate the implementation of the structural minimum requirements in hospital practice. These events were designed to support operational implementation, to encourage the exchange of expertise among hospitals and to define their needs for creating concomitant resources. Swissnoso is developing various resources, which are being rolled out incrementally.

National implementation status overview

In spring 2022, the national point prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infections and the use of antimicrobial agents in Swiss acute-care hospitals was conducted at 108 hospitals involving around 14,000 patients. Swissnoso also took this opportunity to collect data on infection prevention and control activities. This data provides an initial overview of the implementation of the structural minimum requirements. Potential for improvement was identified in the following areas: ongoing staff training, auditing of everyday prevention processes and in the execution of targeted infection-prevention projects. These results provide specific indicators for the NOSO strategy and it will focus on them going forward.


Self-evaluation framework and handbook for the minimum structural requirements (only in german, french and italian)

Past events for the implementation of the minimum structural requirements (only in german and french)

Last modification 08.02.2024

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Division of Communicable Diseases
Infection Control and Control Measures Section
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