Concern at hospital's MRSA rates

RATES of killer bug MRSA at Ipswich Hospital are presently almost double those of national targets, it has emerged.A report, discussed by the Ipswich Hospital's NHS Trust Board on Thursday, revealed 17 cases of MRSA bacteraemia have already been recorded at the hospital since April this year, compared to a national standard of nine for the same period.

By Danielle Nuttall

RATES of killer bug MRSA at Ipswich Hospital are presently almost double those of national targets, it has emerged.

A report, discussed by the Ipswich Hospital's NHS Trust Board on Thursday, revealed 17 cases of MRSA bacteraemia have already been recorded at the hospital since April this year, compared to a national standard of nine for the same period.

The trust has been set a goal to reduce MRSA bacteraemia rates by 60% between April 2005 and March 2008.


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To meet the ongoing target, the hospital must only record 31 cases by the end of 2006-7 - but has already seen 17 in the first three months of the year.

A total of eight cases were recorded in May while five were reported in June. Health bosses say investigations are under way to establish any common factors between the incidents.

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Speaking at the meeting, Andrew Reed, chief executive of the trust, said: “Every trust in the country has an issue with MRSA. The numbers for May and June are disappointing.

“This target is getting tighter in the sense the numbers of infections we are targeting against is getting smaller. We are talking no more than 31 in a full year.

“We had last year about 60,000 patients going through beds in this hospital. Of them, 42,000 were inpatients (meaning they stayed overnight).

“If you take the fact we had the target last year of 43 infections - that is 0.001% in inpatients acquiring infection in the hospital. While it's a small number, it clearly has a big impact in terms of confidence levels in the hospital.”

He added: “We are isolating the reasons for these infections and investigating these infections to quite a significant degree.

“There is some evidence to suggest that the infections we have recorded to date relate mainly to emergency patients rather than patients coming in off the waiting lists.”

Gwen Collins, the hospital's director of nursing, said: “Every time we now have a bacteraemia identified we raise it as a clinical incident. We do root cause analysis to see if there is anything we could do differently.

“We also look alongside their environment and the hand-washing levels and staffing levels.

“We have a monthly audit of hand-washing. We also monthly audit the environment to ensure it is clean so we have put a lot of things in place to help us manage it but these incidents put us above the trajectory.”

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