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08
Aug

Investment in tackling MRSA should go further


Derek Butler, Chair of MRSA Action UK, said today: “MRSA Action UK welcome The Health Protection Agency confirmation that cases of MRSA are at a record low with fewer than 100 infections in a single month across NHS trusts in England.

“Compared with June 2010, figures for this June show MRSA bloodstream infections in the NHS have fallen from 134 to 97, while the latest data showed 25 acute trusts have been free of MRSA bloodstream infections for the last year. Additionally for the first time since 2004 all regions have reported numbers of people with MRSA bloodstream infections in single figures. This is down to the success of the search and destroy strategy adopted by Trusts, to include interventions such as screening and isolating patients who have been found to be carrying the bacteria on their skin, and the investment in training staff in strict aseptic procedures and hand hygiene.

 

“There are reports in the press this week suggesting some hospitals are MRSA free, however no hospital can say this with any certainty, as there will always be patients and healthcare workers who become colonised with MRSA, and even if bloodstream infections were eradicated there will still be risks with surgical site infections, pneumonias and urinary tract infections. The bloodstream infections that these figures relate to are only a tiny proportion of those published this week.

 

“The work of clinical staff and cleaners and the commitment of Trust Boards to driving down infections in our hospitals is to be applauded.

 

“There is no room for complacency however, as there are still large numbers of people who are contracting Clostridium difficile, and just over 68% of the infections reported by the Health Protection Agency are in the community setting.

 

“MRSA (Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a derivative of MSSA (Meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus) and there were 1,419 bloodstream infections in hospitals in England since January up to the end of June this year, showing that there is a lot more work to do in terms of tackling these superbugs. There were 4,354 reports of MSSA bloodstream infections recorded in the community setting since January.

 

“We believe extending screening to incorporate MSSA would add value to the programme, whilst saving lives and reducing suffering for patients. These bloodstream infections, although responsive to Meticillin can be difficult to treat and patients undergoing surgery are at risk. We have the capability to prevent them and ONS statistics show that in 2009 more than 2,000 people died from Staphylococcal infections.

 

“As a charity who deal with the people who have been affected on a daily basis we know only too well the price of not taking action to prevent avoidable infections, and a life taken prematurely is not a price that we should be willing to pay.”

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