MRSA Action UK

Annual General Meeting held at
Anthony Collins Solicitors
134 Edmund Street, Birmingham B3 2ES

Saturday 8th March 2008




The Annual General Meeting was well attended and Phil Barnes of Anthony Collins Solicitors welcomed everyone as host to the meeting.  Our President Professor Hugh Pennington was unable to attend, he gave his sincere apologies.  He was chairing the hearings in Cardiff of the E.coli Inquiry.  The fact that he was investigating a big E.coli outbreak in which the same things went wrong as in the one he investigated in 1996-7 says that complacency in the face of microbial threats is very wrong, as true for MRSA as E.coli.  Derek gave a report on his behalf, which was the recent presentation given at the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in January 2008. Click here to view Hugh's presentation


Derek Butler thanked everyone for their hard work over the last year, and for attending the AGM.  He gave a report on the busy year we had experienced since the last AGM, one of the many events discussed was the TV appearance on The Richard and Judy Show in July.  Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan had autographed a picture of Hayleigh.  Edwina made it a very special day for Hayleigh by presenting her with the autographed picture.


Following the delivery of the Chair's report for the year, our guest speaker and Patron, Edwina Currie, gave a speech and opened a discussion with members on healthcare infections and recent developments.


Guest Speaker Edwina Currie


Edwina outlined that when she was invited to be Patron the reason she was able to say yes was she had just stood down from one organisation that had wound up, she was the Patron of the Human BSE Foundation set up some years ago.  She had joined following the Phillips enquiry in 1997, demanding compensation for patients, victims and families.


The illness had produced a Search and Destroy policy, there had been 160 deaths. A compensation scheme emerged and people have now been paid out, at a meeting in Durham the Human BSE Foundation was wound up and became part of bigger umbrella organisation.


A rising trend in deaths from MRSA


Edwina reported on the latest figures available from the Office of National Statistics and handed out copies of the report.  It showed the number of people whose death certificates had MRSA as the cause of death and those where MRSA was a contributory factor.  In July-September in England and Wales there were over a 1,000 every three months.  It was sensible to compare with same period last year as there were seasonal factors that meant more people may be in hospital and be more vulnerable due to winter illnesses; this may mean a rise in MRSA.  On 30 January 2008 the BBC news reported that the NHS closes on target.  John Reid had said he wanted the figures in 2003/04 halved by 2008.  Was this enough?  If you really tackle MRSA you do away with it, therefore the number of cases should go way down.  C diff deaths had gone way up, Edwina said she was not comfortable to report that things are going really well.


The ONS figures were showing an increase.  Numbers for 2006 show a continuing rise. More than 1600 people a year are still dying.


Men are more likely to die than women - is there a clue somewhere?  The older you get the more likely you are to succumb to MRSA.

Edwina talks about the rising trends in deaths
 attributable to  MRSA


News releases imply improvement, but the figures speak for themselves


News releases imply that things are very much better.  There were 50,000 cases now, when we lay the wreath we will be laying it for those people - the equivalent to 2 train crashes a week.  C diff amounts to twice as many as those killed on the roads.


Recent initiatives had included providing 5,000 more Modern Matrons, is she paid the same as an ordinary nurse, sister, a lot more?  How many patients do they nurse - none.  This was the equivalent of 5,000 more managers. 


Edwina had been invited as a judge for Nursing Standards nurse awards in March.  For the first time ever they have a patients' award - they had been inundated with correspondence and letters, patients wanted to highlight the work of the nurses, people with long term conditions, a person who looks after carers.  Over and over again, nomination for ward sister, they run a tight ship, her ward is spotless and the staff adore her.  We don't need more managers - the ward sister or charge nurse would say nobody goes out of my ward and back into intensive care - the ward was crowded and busy - but the surgeon insisted on that standard.


That's what's required discipline on the ward, we don't need more managers.

Better regulation is needed


The Healthcare Commission were beginning to do their job properly. It has been confusing and it can get expensive.  They have taken photos, and they have gone back to Maidstone and Tunbridge wells, nurses are now being employed. 


But we still had doctors not washing their hands. 


What happened on our railways after about the second or third event, the law is changing that, they can be prosecuted, there have been a small number of very senior people prosecuted - it's put the wind up these people - the railways are now safer.  On Thursday January 24 2008 there was £75,000 pay off for the Chief Executive with 90 deaths from C.diff attributable to her name. She should have been sacked and prosecuted. 


It was now compulsory to be tested.  The Veterans Association in America are very good at this.  MRSA was very prevalent in nursing homes.  MRSA and C.diff are a result of lazy diagnosis and the overuse of blanket antibiotics.


Infections were now in the community


Nursing homes may be better informed now, but visitors also needed to be careful with infection prevention and control.


If you look at figures NHS Trusts are having fewer cases - are they being sent out to nursing homes to die? Everybody has to take responsibility Patients' families are not always careful - the nursing home environment is classed as the patients' home, Edwina believed patients needed to be tested on discharge, some homes may not be as good at infection prevention and control, there should be regular testing of staff. Phil Barnes said that under COSHH Regulations they should be checking to see that staff are clear.

There was a tendency to blame patients and their families.  The NHS had let standards slip and become complacent. The campaign continues.


Business of the AGM

The business of the AGM followed and The Board of Trustees stood down in readiness for the election for the coming year.

The Chair thanked everyone for their hard work and continuing support.  The membership then took the opportunity to vote.  The following were elected as Trustees, and their subsequent elected positions are shown.

Derek Butler (Chair)

Dale Law (Vice Chair)

Paul Kelly (Vice Chair)

Maria Cann (Secretary)

Mavis Law (Treasurer)

Nicola Mayers

Sharon Law


Our thanks go to former Trustees Tom Snowball, Moya Stevenson, Claude Newson and Linda McCafferty, and to Linda Gregg Inverness representative, for the support they have given to MRSA Action UK.


Thank you also to Anthony Collins Solicitors for hosting the event.



Derek Butler


MRSA Action UK

14th March 2008

07762 741114