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National Infection Prevention and Control Manual

National Infection Prevention and Control Manual

SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation)

Statement: Please note that SBARs published before December 2023 make reference to alcohol based hand rub (ABHR). As of 11 January 2024 this is now referred to as hand rub in the NIPCM based on the updated recommendations in the hand products literature review (with the exception of surgical hand antisepsis which has its own body of research).


An SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) is a communication tool presented in 4 standardised sections that allow organisations to present key information and communicate it in a clear and concise way. SBARs are often used in healthcare settings to:

  • facilitate communication about patient care between healthcare workers; and/or
  • present the results of an evidence review to inform evidence-based practice in healthcare settings.

The 4 standard sections are:

  • Situation
    Outline the reasons for undertaking the evidence review (e.g in response to an identified problem/issue) and the questions that the review needs to address.
  • Background
    Key information that puts the situation in context or provides necessary background knowledge to inform the evidence assessment.
  • Assessment
    An assessment of the available evidence to address the review question(s).
  • Recommendation
    Recommendations (e.g. for practice, for further research) drawn from the evidence assessment.


Assessing the evidence base for medical procedures which create a higher risk of respiratory infection transmission from patient to healthcare worker.

Reflects the findings of an ARHAI Scotland-led rapid review which aimed to​ assess the published scientific evidence and seek UK expert opinion to establish if the AGPs on the extant list continue to merit inclusion and whether additional procedures should be included. ​​​

This has been agreed in collaboration with experts from New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) and Public Health England (PHE). 

Donning, doffing and decontamination of powered respirators

Guidelines for air powered respirators do not currently exist for use in NHSScotland; the aim of this SBAR is to present the available evidence to inform the optimum order for donning and doffing and the correct procedure for decontamination.  HPS is currently consulting with professional colleagues across the UK on related work, this SBAR is therefore published as draft and may be updated based on the outcomes of this related work.

Decontamination of Blood Gas Analysers

Blood gas analysers have been implicated in the transmission of nosocomial infection in several outbreak reports. There is currently no national guidance on decontamination of blood gas analysers. This SBAR provides recommendations for clinical practice for NHSScotland.

Portable cooling fans (bladed and bladeless) for use in clinical areas

This SBAR is a position statement from HPS in regards to the use of bladeless fans and similar products by NHSScotland.