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Bloodborne MRSA infection rates to be halved by 2008 - Reid

  • Published date:
    5 November 2004

A new objective to dramatically reduce MRSA bloodstream infections in hospitals by March 2008, was announced today by Health Secretary, John Reid.

Speaking at the Chief Nursing Officer's conference in Manchester, John Reid said:

"I have made it clear that lowering rates of healthcare acquired infections, such as MRSA is a top priority, and that the Government is committed to a relentless campaign to control MRSA.

"We were the first Government to introduce and publish figures on the compulsory monitoring of healthcare associated infections, hospital by hospital so that we could measure MRSA infections. 

"With that in mind, it is now time to go even further.  I expect MRSA bloodstream infection rates to be halved in our hospitals by 2008.  NHS Acute Trusts will be tasked with achieving a year on year reduction up to and beyond March 2008."

"This is extremely challenging. All trusts will have to identify high-risk sources of infection and draw up comprehensive action plans to prevent or isolate MRSA in order to achieve this reduction. 

"I do not regard this as something which is the responsibility only of one group of workers or one political party. It is naturally a challenge to us all, but at the centre of this are our hospitals and the staff who work in them.  Nurses, doctors and other infection control staff will be in the front line of this drive to fight hospital infections.

"Everyone has a role to play - hospital cleaners are as important as consultants when it comes to these issues."

Notes to editor

  1. The mandatory surveillance scheme for monitoring S.aureus and MRSA was introduced by the Department of Health in April 2001. The Health Protection Agency Local and Regional Services collect the data and it is analysed by the Agency's Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC) Although bloodborne MRSA does not give the complete picture, but it does indicate the prevalence of MRSA.
  2. DH website for data on MRSA by individual Trust is available at the link above.
  3. DH documents Winning Ways, Towards cleaner hospitals and The Matron's Charter. DH Winning Ways and DH Towards cleaner hospitals publications can be found at the links above.
  4. Recent initiatives on MRSA and hospital infections include:
    An Action plan 'Towards cleaner hospitals and lower rates of infection', that sets out that every hospital will publish and display its infection rates
    The national rollout of the National Patient Safety Agency's cleanyourhands campaign, which means there will be alcohol rubs at every staff patient contact point.
    Launch of Matrons Charter and the appointment of Chief Nursing Officer, Chris Beasley, who  is charged with improving cleanliness and hygiene in every hospital.
    As a result of Agenda for Change, over one million NHS staff will receive infection control training to help in the fight against MRSA.
  5. For media inquiries please contact the Department of Health press office on 0207 210   658/5649/5656. 
  6. For  public inquiries please call 0207 210 4850.

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