Reducing HCAIs 2010

A Health Economy Approach to Quality Care 2010
June 16th 2010

The GovToday Conference was interesting and stimulated debate around the successes that had been achieved in tackling healthcare associated infections and the work still to be done.  The masterclass sessions covered early discharge of patients, technologies to help reduce the length of stay and achieve efficient whole room decontamination.   Screening for MRSA and MSSA was considered and the methods employed. Maria Cann took the opportunity to ask if it was possible to test for more than one bacterium, although the technology has not yet been developed it was thought to be beneficial to be able to screen for more than one micro-organism if swabs were taken.  MSSA bacteraemias and other infections remain a problem despite reductions in MRSA bacteraemias.


Dr Petter Elstrom from Norway gave an interesting presentation and overview of MRSA and antimicrobial resistance.  Norway's antibiotic prescribing was far more selective than many of the European neighbours, including the UK.  It appears that narrow spectrum antibiotic use and the avoidance of broad spectrum antibiotics contributes to better outcomes in Norway with lower levels of antimicrobial resistant illness.


Edwina Currie gave a moving and passionate presentation by telling the stories of seven people who had died from MRSA, only one of whom had this recognised on the death certificate.  Slides showing numbers of Clostridium difficile cases prompted some debate.  The North West had the highest number of cases than any other region, with two thirds being in the community. Edwina said she would put money on this being due to antibiotic prescribing policies and quoted good practice in other Trusts. 

The presentation caused debate among a number of delegates who were from the North West, especially when Edwina pointed out in response that the figures clearly demonstrated that the North West is failing on MRSA and C.Diff, "you must remember this is my region. I am not here to cause controversy, but one thing is apparent and that is Boards within the North West are clearly not listening or acting fast enough to reduce the number of cases".


A painful and costly truth, when we know there are some organisations in the region that are acting as exemplars.


Both Derek Butler and Maria Cann were in attendance at the conference and would like to thank Edwina for the powerful delivery of the presentation, which motivated Heart of England NHS Trust to get in touch for Edwina to visit and present on 15th October. Invitations have also been extended by East and North Herts NHS Trust on the 5th October and East of England Infection Prevention Society on the 12th November.


Maria Cann, Secretary and Edwina Currie, Patron MRSA Action UK


If you or someone you care about has been affected by a healthcare infection and you wish to discuss this with us, please contact us at