MRSA :: MRSA infections continue to fall, UK

UK Health Minister Ann Keen praised the hard work of NHS staff as the number of MRSA bloodstream infections showed a 6.4 per cent fall on the previous quarter – the third time the figure has fallen.

Ann Keen also pledged to continue measures to drive down numbers of infection, warning Trusts that patients must be treated in a safe, clean environment.

The assurance came as the Health Protection Agency (HPA) published statistics showing an increase of 22 per cent in C.difficile reports, an increase on the previous quarter, but in line with seasonal rises in infection and results for the same period last year.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:

“We know that cleanliness and infection control are of great concern to patients and the public. This is why we have taken a wide range of action to drive up standards across the NHS, including an extra ?50 million to support frontline workers in tackling these infections. We have also doubled the size of Improvement Teams.

“The hard work of NHS staff has been vital in reducing MRSA infections. We now need to redouble our efforts to tackle C difficile and continue this progress.”

To help identify where infection control practice might be improved, The Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson asked The Healthcare Commission (HCC) to work with NHS trusts. The HCC today published the result of this study – ‘What else can the boards and senior managers of acute NHS trusts do to improve the prevention and control of infection?’.

Commenting on the report, Ann Keen said:

“I am very pleased to note that the report supports the approach taken Department’s Healthcare Acquired Infection action programme.”

“Protecting patients, visitors and staff from infections is a crucial responsibility for NHS Trusts. We have asked the Healthcare Commission to ensure that the Hygiene Code we introduced last year is observed across the NHS. I hope improvement notices will not be a common occurrence for Trusts – but NHS bodies should know that where failings are found, strong action will be taken.”

To ensure that NHS staff are working together to tackle HCAIs, a letter has been sent from the Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Executive of the NHS outlining what more the NHS needs to do to make further progress. It also provides more details on the ?50m to support this.

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