Exploring attitudes towards infection prevention and control before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the first outbreak of COVID-19 (March 2020), attitudes towards the importance of infection prevention and control (IPC) have been brought to the forefront of many people’s minds, particularly in a healthcare setting. As such, the COVID-19 pandemic brought into play what can be referred to as a ‘teachable moment’ in terms of IPC practice: a good opportunity to capitalise on the learning from this event, and to consider how such learning can be maximised and applied more broadly, moving forwards.

Within this context, we set out to conduct a substantive piece of research to explore and understand more about the factors that help facilitate good infection prevention and control practice in the ambulance sector, and the things that act as barriers or make things more difficult. Our team of consultants at Zeal Solutions were able to help identify and answer a number of important questions, addressing the impact of the global pandemic on compliance with IPC guidance. Suggestions and recommendations for best practice were proposed, using an extensive and robust body of evidence, centred around the feedback and experiences of ambulance staff themselves.

Why the survey was carried out

Zeal Solutions were commissioned by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), to design and issue a survey to all ambulance staff and volunteers to capture experiences of IPC measures during the pandemic. The intention of the feedback was to offer the ambulance sector an excellent learning opportunity to shape their preparation and response to future IPC concerns and pandemics, whilst considering how these issues could impact on staff wellbeing.

What we did to help

Between December 2021 and March 2022, an online survey containing questions specifically designed for the ambulance sector was distributed to all staff, volunteers, student paramedics and bank staff across the ambulance sector. The purpose was to explore factors that influence infection prevention and control (IPC) practice across the sector, whilst considering the impact of the global pandemic on compliance with IPC guidance.

The outcomes of the assessment

Completed surveys from 3,778 individuals were analysed by the team at Zeal Solutions Ltd to help understand the evidence, inform recommendations and guide decision making to strengthen IPC practice.

Responses have allowed the identification of many factors that significantly impact on compliance behaviour (both things that encourage compliance and things that prevent it), and allowed AACE to explore which of these mattered most from ambulance staff’s perspective. A series of focus group discussions have also helped to identify specific actions that staff felt were needed to maximise learning for the ambulance sector nationally, and to help address the key issues.


At Zeal, we believe in strengthening people and organisations. Through our understanding of the science of human behaviour and experience of the workplace, we help organisations strengthen their people, teams and leaders to create healthier, happier and more productive workplaces.
What makes us different is we’re psychologists with business in mind. We are passionate about the use of psychology in the workplace, and aim to enhance individual and organisational health, well-being and performance.
Contact us for more information about our practical tools and the bespoke services we can offer to your organisation, or alternatively email us at support@zealsolutions.co.uk or call us on T: 01159 932 324.

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