Sunday, September 21, 2008

MRSA cases rise in Cumbria

Although we recently had the welcome news that MRSA infections have been falling in NHS hospitals as a whole, there has been a spike in Cumbria.

I know that the staff at the West Cumberland have been working hard to maintain high standards and keep hospital acquired infections under control but this demonstrates that we cannot afford complacency - and for example, that means that when we debate how many hospital beds are needed we need to ensure that there is enough spare capacity that staff have adequate time to clean beds between patients.

In the three months to June, the there were six MRSA cases at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.

This compares with four cases during the same quarter two years ago. Overall the number of cases has fluctuated over the two-year period, with a high of nine and low of four in any given quarter.

North Cumbria's acute hospitals trust say they are working hard to reduce the spread of infections and have introduced a number of initiatives. Measures launched over the past year include the appointment of two lead matrons for both hospital sites.

They have also appointed a lead hand hygiene nurse, who is developing campaigns to increase awareness, and two specialist infection prevention nurses to deliver specialist training for staff.

Sandy Brown, director of nursing for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Infection Prevention is a top priority in our trust and across the health economy in north Cumbria.

“We place a great deal of emphasis on this issue to ensure that patients feel reassured and that we continue to deliver high quality patient-focused care. We have introduced many new measures in the last 12 months including developing particular infection prevention roles for a large group of staff.”

The trust recently revealed that cases of the more common superbug, C diff, have dropped significantly over the past year. It believes this is a result of improved infection control policies.

Source: Cumbria Newspapers website (article by Anike Bourley).


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