Hospitals 'failing to beat MRSA'

HOSPITALS in Suffolk came under fire last night after it emerged they are failing to keep levels of killer bug MRSA within acceptable limits.According to a performance report, there were 27 cases of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at Ipswich Hospital between April and September this year.

HOSPITALS in Suffolk came under fire last night after it emerged they are failing to keep levels of killer bug MRSA within acceptable limits.

According to a performance report, there were 27 cases of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at Ipswich Hospital between April and September this year.

This is nine above its prescribed ceiling for that period and just five short of the overall target for the 2006-7 financial year.

West Suffolk Hospitals performed only slightly better with 16 cases of MRSA between April and September, compared to a target of 13 and a total ceiling of 28.


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The figures, which will be discussed at a meeting of the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) tomorrow, were from the National MRSA Data Capture System.

Last night, hospital bosses said they are working hard to stem the tide of infections and that rigorous plans are in place to reduce risks.

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But Julie Fenton, the grandmother of baby Luke Day who died aged just 36 hours in Ipswich Hospital in February last year when it was believed he was the youngest victim of MRSA, said the latest figures were “very disappointing”.

She said: “It just proves that it's an ongoing problem and not something that will go away overnight. A lot of working out is still needed and it's going to take persistence and consistency.

“Everyone has to play a role from the doctors and nurses and other staff to members of the public who are visiting because there has to be an all-round effort.”

John Gummer, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “I really do think the team in charge is trying hard but it is under enormous pressure because of the financial position forced on them by the Government.

“However, it is essential infection control is made a priority because people cannot fear that if they visit a hospital they will be made even more ill.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said reducing and preventing the spread of infection was an important priority.

“Particularly in the summer we did see an increase in MRSA infections,” she said. “However we recently invited a team of experts from the Department of Health to come and have a look at what we do in infection control so we can understand why we had a rise and make sure it doesn't happen again.”

She said the hospital had a number if initiatives in place to try and prevent the spread of MRSA which included a Clean Your Hands campaign and bedside alcohol rubs.

“The infection control team work very hard to raise public awareness and it is very much about working together to try and bring numbers down,” she said.

Dr Caroline Barker, at West Suffolk Hospital, assured the hospital had rigorous plans in place to reduce risk.

“Of the 16 MRSA bacteraemia reported, four of those patients had come in from another unit or from their own home,” she said. “They did not develop the infection while in hospital.

“Another two of the reported bacteraemias proved to be 'contaminated' with MRSA from the skin of the patients, who did not actually have bloodstream infections.”

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

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