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So much for promises on MRSA reductions
Started by Derek Butler
Posted: December 26, 2006 at 19:28
Hospital infections 'kill 10,000 a year'
By ANDREW LEVY

Last updated at 21:00pm on 25th December 2006

Reader comments (9)


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Tough government targets to slash the number of deaths from hospital superbugs have been shelved as cases continue to overwhelm hospitals.

Health trusts were ordered earlier this year to halve the annual 5,000-strong death toll by 2008.

But the Department of Health has admitted it will fail to meet the pledge after the number of people infected by MRSA dropped just two per cent to around 7,000.

Cases of a more deadly strain, C-difficile, have soared 17 per cent while a new bug, PVL, has killed several people including a premature newborn baby last week.

Health campaigners say the true number of deaths from hospital-acquired infections stands at 10,000 each year.

A Department of Health official admitted: 'This has proved to be far harder than we thought. MRSA is an enormous challenge.

"While we have succeeded in stabilising the situation, we have not been able to make big in-roads into reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections."

MPs and patients' organisations yesterday criticised the government's failure to tackle the scandal.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Over the last nine years there have been far too many cases where the government has allowed MRSA to become endemic.

"The result has been an evolving process leading to increased resistance to antibiotics."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb said: "The government talks tough on MRSA but is failing to deliver."

The Patients' Association said fear of hospital-acquired infections meant many people were now too scared to be admitted to hospital for routine surgery.

Chairman Michael Summers said: "We are very concerned. MRSA is still very much with us and now there is a new strain, PVL, which might not be as easy to control as it is a really harsh strain of MRSA and may not be controlled by antibiotics. C-difficile is on the increase as well.

"Patients are very concerned and are being put off elective surgery."

Mr Summers blamed underfunding of NHS trusts, adding: "The consequences of financial deficits are that hospitals are closing down wards, not engaging the right number of nurses, including infection control nurses, and cleaning contracts are not being renewed.

"We can't go on like this."

A total of 7,087 patients contracted MRSA in 2005/6, down marginally from 7,233 the previous year.

In 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, 1,168 people died after contracting MRSA on filthy hospital wards. A further 2,247 died from C-difficile.

PVL - Panton-Valentine Leukocidin positive Staphylococcus aureus - attacks white blood cells, leaving victims unable to fight infection.

In addition to the baby boy who died at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last week, five other infants in the neonatal unit were found to have been contaminated with the killer bug.

Days earlier experts had warned the bug could overwhelm hospitals after 11 people were infected with another strain, PVL-MRSA at a Stoke-on-Trent hospital.

Two people - a young mother who worked there as a nurse and a young male patient - died.

A Department of Health spokesman last night said: "Ministers now have powers to penalise NHS trusts which fail to tackle infection rates."

Powers include sacking chief executives and sending in teams to tackle the infection rate.


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Re: So much for promises on MRSA reductions
Reply #1 by Derek Butler
Posted: December 26, 2006 at 19:36
It was announced today by the HSE that Televisions should be removed from hospital rooms including the day rooms in wards because of a Health and Safety risk to patients. The HSE have stated that there is a high risk that patients may trip up on the wires to the TV sets in these rooms.

What a pity that the HSE are putting so much effort in to this when they are doing nothing to help prevent HAIís in our hospitals and the known deaths from these infections.

Who said that the lunatics are not in charge.

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Re: So much for promises on MRSA reductions
Reply #2 by linda mccafferty
Posted: December 27, 2006 at 02:13
id like to wish tony blair a very HAPPY NEW YEAR that's if his conscience will let him .
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Re: So much for promises on MRSA reductions
Reply #3 by Derek Butler
Posted: December 27, 2006 at 10:10
Linda.
We will all have a Happy New Year when he retires.
16146
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