Prof Graham Ayliffe passes away

graham_ayliffeIt is with great sadness that the International Federation of Infection Control community received the news of the death of Professor Graham Ayliffe, who passed away in hospital on Monday 22nd May 2017 at the age of 91 years.

Graham Ayliffe , one of the Founding Fathers of IFIC, studied medicine at Bristol University joining the Department of Pathology at Bristol Royal Infirmary in 1955 where he worked under Professor William Gillespie, before moving  to the Hammersmith Hospital in 1963. He was awarded an MD from the University of Bristol.

Professor Ayliffe had a distinguished trajectory, as he is internationally recognised for his work at the Hospital Infection Research laboratory (HIRL) (currently City Hospital in Birmingham), where he was a core contributor to Professor Edward Lowbury's team, and responsible for the day-to-day running of the Laboratory. In 1980 he was appointed as Director of same, until his retirement in 1994.

His well known book Control of Hospital Infection, was first published in 1975, and is now in its 5th Edition, an invaluable companion to those working in the field of IP&C.

He was one of the founders of the Healthcare Infection Society, and served as its first Chair (1980 – 1984), as President (1988 - 1994), and also as the first Editor of the Journal of Hospital Infection (JHI).  During his exceptional career, he was also Chair/president of Infection Control Nurses Association ( now IPS)-UK, and Chair of Central Sterilising Club ( CSC )-UK.

Graham Ayliffe was passionate about training and education, and a great believer in offering nurses the best training possible. He developed one of the first training programmes for ICNurses, setting up EN 329 course in Birmingham, UK.

Recognizing the need for international collaboration, and together with colleagues from the USA, South Africa  and Sweden, he helped establish the International Federation of Infection Control (IFIC). His leadership was crucial to the development of a platform for international collaboration and network amongst ICP professionals across the globe. He became IFIC’s Chair from 1993 to 1996, developed its Newsletter (now grown into the Society’s Journal IJIC), and contributed extensively to the Basic Concepts in Infection Control book.

His lifetime work in research, education and support are recognized by IFIC in the Graham Ayliffe  Certificate of Lifetime Achievement, which was set up in his name, and is awarded to those who made important contributions to Infection prevention and control across the globe. It was a great pleasure to his many friends that he was able to attend the IFIC Conference in Malta as recently as 2014, where the Certificate was given to one of his successors at the HRL and the CSC.

His wife Janet, who accompanied him on so many visits to IFIC, survives him. On behalf of IFIC, we would like to express our sincere condolences to Janet and their family at this time.

Photo Credit: Professor Graham Ayliffe at the Wellcome Witness Seminar on 'Superbugs and Superdrugs: A History of MRSA' held by the History of Biomedicine Research Group. Image courtesy Wellcome Library.