Bugged by MRSA
THE NHS Trust which runs Lister Hospital is battling to meet its reduced targets for MRSA cases. East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which also runs the QEII hospital in Welwyn Garden City, admits it might struggle to meet the target of no more than
THE NHS Trust which runs Lister Hospital is battling to meet its reduced targets for MRSA cases.
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which also runs the QEII hospital in Welwyn Garden City, admits it might struggle to meet the target of no more than 31 cases by the end of March.
As of December last year there had been 27 cases of patients with MRSA blood infections.
Included in this figure, "somewhat perversely" according to the Trust, are patients who came into the hospital with the infection, which equates to around 55 per cent of the total.
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But the Trust insists that the figures still show an improvement on previous years.
A spokesman said: "Although we feel we will struggle to meet our reduced target for 2006/07 - 31 cases - we are still recording fewer cases of MRSA infection than we have ever done in previous years.
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"Principally this is due to all the work put in by the Trust's infection control team and all staff to improve hand hygiene - the biggest single thing that we can all do, staff, patients and visitors alike - to stop the spread of infections like MRSA.
"But we have also invested heavily in better cleaning of our hospitals, which has resulted in markedly improved performance ratings when inspected through the national PEAT system."
The Trust also says the latest results from an inpatient survey, organised through the Healthcare Commission and due to be presented to the board on January 24, shows patients' experience of cleanliness at the trust has improved - 93 per cent of those surveyed said it was clean or very clean.
But Karen Bish, whose 82-year-old mother Iris Wilson died of MRSA at Lister after being admitted with a broken femur, said she felt the Trust wasn't trying very hard.
After her mother died Mrs Bish, of Mackenzie Square, Stevenage, set up a support group for people who had had problems at Lister.
She said: "Since the support group we tried to set up we've had other cases come through to do with lack of care and cleanliness so from our point of view we can't see that anything's changed."
# Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that lives on the skin or in the nose of about a third of normal, healthy people. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a strain of S. aureus that has become resistant to most commonly used antibiotics.
# MRSA has not been shown to be more dangerous than other strains of S. aureus bacteria but because it is antibiotic resistant it is harder to treat. There are a number of effective medicines.
# Those most vulnerable to MRSA infection are people that are already ill - particularly hospitalised patients.
# Approximately 5,000 deaths per year in the UK are due to healthcare- associated infection, according to the Health Protection Agency. In 2002 248 deaths from MRSA were recorded.
# East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust estimates that the 55,000 patients it treats annually are at a 0.1 per cent risk of being infected with this bacteria.