Infection prevention risks associated with healthcare water systems and wastewater disposal 

Considerations for planning of hospitals for the future

The Journal of Hospital Infection (JHI) is calling for original research, reviews and opinion on the topic of water and healthcare water systems, with a focus on wastewater, advance planning in new-build hospital projects, aerial transmission risks associated with water and innovations for mitigation.

As the NHS continues the planning and execution of new build hospitals and hospital buildings, the JHI plans to present research from around the world on innovations, new and existing risks to patients as staff, ways to mitigate existing challenges with healthcare water systems and best practices to consider when we plan future healthcare water systems.

Working with Guest Editor Dr Shanom Ali of the Environmental Research Laboratory at University College London Hospitals, United Kingdom, the JHI seeks to showcase this research for an international readership in a Special Edition dedicated to the topic, to be published in Spring 2024.

Guest editor:

Dr Shanom Ali
Environmental Research Laboratory, Clinical Microbiology, University College London Hospitals, United Kingdom

Special issue information:

The JHI particularly seeks work addressing the following aspects of healthcare water systems:

Water and wastewater systems

  • The role of the sink and drain microbiome in the transmission of gram-negative bacteria.
  • Innovations in healthcare shower technology, basin design, taps.
  • Microbiological risks presented by toilets through aerosol distribution, and cross transmission in the clinical environment.
  • Effective and novel wastewater disposal solutions to prevent retrograde contamination of outlets.
  • Challenges and innovations in hot/ cold water temperature control, water pressures and maintenance.

Waterless systems

  • Is a sinkless healthcare environment fit for purpose?
  • Are waterless technologies for hand disinfection fit for purpose?

Engineering and infrastructure

  • Planning plumbing and plumbing infrastructure.
  • Visibility and accessibility of healthcare water infrastructure.
  • New technologies and automation for monitoring and controlling the healthcare water environment from temperature and water pressure to usage and microbiological quality.


  • Novel technologies for effective disinfection of water and wastewater systems.
  • Novel solutions to assure Infection Prevention without burden on water/carbon footprint.


  • Are existing policies for building (for example, HBN and HTM guidelines) fit for hospitals of the future?

Deadline for submissions: 31 March 2024

If you have any healthcare water system-related research that does not fall within any of these categories we might still be interested in publishing it; we would encourage you to contact the Editorial Office ( to discuss any research or ideas that you have.

The JHI is the editorially independent scientific publication of the Healthcare Infection Society (HIS). The aim of the Journal is to publish high-quality research and information relating to infection prevention and control that is relevant to an international audience.

The JHI’s instructions for authors are available on the journal website (Guide for Authors), and authors are kindly asked to follow them. When you come to submit your article, please note that you are responding to this call for papers in your cover letter to ensure your work is held for the special edition.

Learn more about the benefits of publishing in a special issue:

Interested in becoming a guest editor? Discover the benefits of guest editing a special issue and the valuable contribution that you can make to your field:

News: Water safety in healthcare training course

Essential for water safety groups - our three-day virtual training course launches in Spring 2024

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  • Incident-based scenarios in healthcare: the view from experts
  • IPC issues in construction, refurbishment, resilience and outbreaks
  • Advanced understanding and management of water-associated infection risk
  • Interactive practical multidisciplinary sessions

The course is aimed at all involved in water safety - so if you work in IPC, estates, clinical, engineering, construction, design, project management, procurement or an executive role, register your interest now!


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