Tragic Luke's family concerned at wait

THE family of baby MRSA victim Luke Day have spoken of their disappointment that Prime Minister Tony Blair has yet to reply to their letter calling for action to stamp out the killer bug.

THE family of baby MRSA victim Luke Day have spoken of their disappointment that Prime Minister Tony Blair has yet to reply to their letter calling for action to stamp out the killer bug.

Kevin and Julie Fenton, Luke's father and paternal grandmother, and Kathy Day, Luke's maternal grandmother, spoke to the East Anglian Daily Times after receiving a response from Tory leader Michael Howard.

In his reply, Mr Howard spoke of his "sorrow" over Luke's death and said his office would be in touch to arrange a meeting.

But, while the family have been heartened by Mr Howard's prompt response, they are still waiting to hear back from both Tony Blair and Charles Kennedy.

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They hand delivered the letters to each of the party leaders' private parliamentary secretaries at the House of Commons on April 7.

Mr Fenton said: "I'm glad to have got a response, because I didn't know if we were going to get one. I thought all the replies might come at once.

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"I know Tony Blair's probably got a lot on at the moment, but our letter was well written and I thought there would have been a response sooner - maybe it's on its way."

Mrs Fenton added: "I would have thought it would be high on Tony Blair's list of priorities.

"I still think it's quite early and it's not their only issue - but it is a huge issue and time will tell.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter which Government comes up with the goods, as long as they do something about it."

And Mrs Day said: "I was very pleased that Michael Howard got back to us - he and Mr (John) Gummer have been brilliant and supported us very well.

"I think we're all surprised and possibly disappointed that Tony Blair hasn't got back to us yet."

Of Mr Howard's reply, Mrs Fenton added: "I really was pleased that Michael Howard made the time to do that so quickly.

"The matter is quite close to home for him and Charles Kennedy has just had a baby, which I thought might twang a few heart strings with him.

"It will be interesting to meet Michael Howard if we get the chance - I'd like to meet him face to face and see what he's got to say.

"I wasn't expecting the offer and it shows that he's taking a personal interest, which is good."

Last night, nobody available for comment from the offices of Mr Blair or Mr Kennedy.

The latest news comes as our Stamp Out MRSA campaign continues to gather pace, with the number of signatures gathered for our petition breaking through the 2,500 barrier.

Launched shortly after we exclusively broke the news of Luke's death with the backing of his family, the petition calls on the Government and NHS Trusts to do more to eradicate the bug.

The petition, which we hope to present to Health Secretary John Reid, features five key pledges that the EADT wants to see a widespread commitment to.

Of the campaign's success, Mr Fenton said: "It's great news - I didn't realise it had gone that high just yet.

"I keep handing out copies of the form to people, and that's going well. I'd like to thank everybody for their support - it's been brilliant."

Meanwhile, a baby born with a hole in her heart was found to be carrying MRSA after being transferred from a specialist unit, it emerged yesterday.

Jessica Ridley was born prematurely at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and transferred to University College Hospital (UCH) in London, where she spent two weeks being treated for a lung and heart defect.

When the six-week-old was moved back to the Conquest Hospital routine tests found that she was carrying the MRSA superbug.

A spokesman for the Conquest Hospital said: "Baby Jessica tested positive for MRSA on her arrival back at the special care baby unit at the Conquest Hospital."

In a statement, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust added: "We have stringent infection control procedures in place and babies are swabbed periodically throughout their treatment. In this case these tests were carried out and were found to be negative."

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