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Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) cause significant morbidity and mortality but there is limited data available about the frequency and cost of HAI in New Zealand.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Infection Prevention and Control programme conducted Aotearoa New Zealand’s first national point prevalence survey (PPS) of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) across all 20 district health boards (DHBs) in 2021. A national report was published in May 2022.

A PPS involves reviewing patient medical records to determine how many and what type of HAIs are present on the day of the survey. Surveillance of HAIs is fundamental to any infection prevention and control programme and provides data to inform decisions on where to focus quality improvement activity at the local and national level.

The survey was performed between February and June 2021:

  • A total of 5469 adult patients in 291 wards across 31 hospitals were surveyed.
  • 423 active HAI were detected in 361 patients which resulted in an estimated national point prevalence of 6.6%. The HAI rate was 7.7 per 100 adult patients.
  • The most common HAIs were surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and bloodstream infections.

Further work resulting from the PPS data will include:

  • a multivariable analysis to examine any ways in which age and/or ethnicity are related to risk factors for a HAI
  • an exploration of the economic burden of HAI in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • an in-depth review of the published evidence to reduce the most significant HAIs identified in the PPS
  • sector feedback on proposed surveillance and improvement projects that the Commission develops based on the PPS findings.

The results from this survey will inform future HAI surveillance and quality improvement initiatives hospitals take at a local level and programmes the Commission facilitates at a regional or national level.

For any questions, please contact the IPC team at this email address:

National report

Aotearoa New Zealand national point prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infections | Tiro whānui ā-motu mō te maimoa hauora – mate urutā


Establishing the prevalence of healthcare associated infections in New Zealand hospitals (HAINZ) - National point prevalence survey methodology (1.1MB, pdf)

Journal articles

Planning and executing a national point prevalence study: A blueprint for the future
This article (available behind a paywall) describes how our infection prevention and control team planned for and executed a point prevalence survey for healthcare-associated infections. Published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, the article may support providers of health care services who are considering similar surveys.

The prevalence of healthcare-associated infections in New Zealand Public Hospitals 2021

Last updated: 4th May, 2022