Infection Prevention in the NHS

 

 

Infection Prevention in the NHS

 

 

 


Seven years ago, the increasing risk of MRSA and other infections in hospitals gained national attention. Since then, the government and medical professionals have embarked on a new programme of infection control.

 

Since 2010, the number of MRSA cases have been reduced by 57%, C. defficile has been reduced by 45%. These infection rates have been cut by improving hygiene and improved patient care in both hospitals and surgeries. A key factor is the new push for both staff and patients to regularly wash their hands.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

"The NHS can rightly be proud that in the last 6 years we’ve reduced the number of MRSA cases by 57% and C. difficile by 45%. These aren’t abstract numbers – they show that we have prevented the needless suffering – sometimes fatal suffering – of over 60,000 people in that period. Because every avoidable infection also has a financial cost, we know that progress has also saved the NHS over half a billion pounds"

While the past 7 years has seen success, it is of course important to continue the fight against infections in hospitals. Looking forward, the continued plan contains six key elements:

  • An increase in funding for hospitals making the most progress in reducing infection rates
  • CQC inspections focusing on infection prevention based on E.coli rates in hospitals and in the community.
  • Introduction of hygiene indicators for the first time
  • Hosptial's E.coli rates will be displayed on wards. MRSA and C. difficile are already currently shown.
  • A new push to train and share information.
  • The appointment of Dr Ruth May, the new National Infection Lead

Although the total cost of implementing these programmes and standards is uncertain, the impact on the healthcare system is bound to be great. Although MRSA incidents have fallen, MSSA cases are rising and highlight the ongoing battle the NHS faces to combat the spread of dangerous infections.

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