Hospital staff fear MRSA rise

DESPONDENT staff at a beleaguered Suffolk hospital have claimed levels of the killer bug MRSA could rise if devastating cutbacks are carried out.Just days after the EADT revealed drastic attempts to ease £7.

DESPONDENT staff at a beleaguered Suffolk hospital have claimed levels of the killer bug MRSA could rise if devastating cutbacks are carried out.

Just days after the EADT revealed drastic attempts to ease £7.4 million debts at the West Suffolk Hospital, fed-up staff have launched a bitter tirade on health chiefs describing morale as the worst it has been in 25 years and calling for bosses to resign.

As the local community struggles to come to terms with the decision to axe 220 jobs and 10% of beds at the Bury St Edmunds facility, housekeeping staff have voiced fears about the hospital bug after they were told all their overtime would be cut.

While health chiefs say they would take no action which could affect cleanliness, staff yesterday claimed a rise in MRSA cases would be inevitable.


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The killer bug became a key issue in the recent General Election campaign after 36-hour-old baby Luke Day died after contracting MRSA at Ipswich Hospital.

Recent figures showed that the number of cases at the West Suffolk had risen in the last year and Suzanne Smith, a housekeeper for 25 years, said: “We have been under so much pressure to keep the hospital clean for the last couple of years.

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“We know the Government has been putting the strain on management with regards to MRSA, but they in turn have been putting the stress and strain on us and these cuts are going to make it even harder.”

Fellow housekeeper and Unison representative Margaret Brame added: “If I didn't do my job well, then I would either be sacked or resign - and the same should happen here.

“I don't think it can get any blacker than this but we are trying not to let the patients see it.

“I think the changes will lead to an increase in MRSA levels as one thing will follow another - we are fighting a losing battle.”

Staff also described the low morale running throughout the hospital and called on bosses to make themselves accountable.

“We have been fighting against cuts for ten years and we are getting tired,” Mrs Smith said. “By cutting overtime, they will only be saving a pittance.

“This is the worst I have ever known our morale and it is not surprising. They have cut our overtime and now everybody is worried about losing their jobs.”

Gill Malik, a member of Unison's national executive committee, described the cutbacks as the “last straw”.

“The whole hospital is really worried about the plans and I think it has now come to a head,” she said.

“The Government keep saying they want MRSA levels to come down so why risk it?”

A spokesman for the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust said: “We fully appreciate this is a difficult time for staff.

“We take infection control extremely seriously. The Department of Health sets NHS Trusts targets to meet in terms of cleanliness and infection control and we have a duty to meet those targets for the Department of Health and, more importantly, for our patients.

“The Trust would not take any action that would result in a lowering of hygiene and infection control standards.”

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