Speaking the truth about MRSA

Editor's Feature
Derek Butler
MRSA Action UK
Speaking the truth about MRSA

At June's Reducing HCAIs 2010 conference "A Health Economy Approach to Quality Care" our Patron Edwina Currie gave a presentation on the effects avoidable healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) have on patients and their families.  Edwina demonstrated how when a loved one is lost in this way it impacts considerably on those who have to live with the aftermath.  No-one could fail to be moved by the stories Edwina cited from the families involved and the impact this continues to have on them.

The presentation highlighted quite clearly an issue our Charity has been campaigning on for some time, and that is HCAIs in the community.  Whilst we have been concentrating on infections in NHS hospitals over the past few years, and quite rightly directing resources to combat avoidable HCAIs in these establishments, we have failed to address the infections that are now a growing problem in the community.  It is imperative that we direct resources to this area of tackling HCAIs if we are to continue to reduce them in hospital and we will continue to campaign for such action to be taken because to ignore such a problem, we do so at our peril.

There is clear evidence from the latest statistics that performance is not unified across the country. There are some regions that have performed very well in reducing HCAIs in the community, there are however, others that have not performed as well as could be expected and clearly there needs to be some investigation as to why this is. We are primarily speaking about MRSA and C-diff infections but we have to consider there will be problems with other pathogens that we do not record, and we need to address this as soon as possible.

This is why we welcomed the new Government initiative to change the way the data is released in respect to HCAIs in our hospitals.  In spite of views saying that this will add to the burden of reporting, we believe this will help both the staff in our hospitals to discover who is performing well in reducing and maintaining low infection rates, and who, in our opinion, needs support.  Staff within the NHS should welcome this with open arms as a tool to help them improve the service and care they give to their patients.  We welcomed the release of the data because it gives patients and the public as near as possible real-time data on infections at hospital level which is important when choosing where to go for treatment.

Not everyone at the conference in June was enamoured by the evidence put before them and this was evident in the debate that followed. We are aware that there are some detractors of the new initiative introduced by the Government on reporting HCAIs. We will be campaigning for the new initiative to be extended beyond the present mandatory reporting regime to include all HCAIs because we need to control all infections to reduce the resistance to the present stocks of antibiotics, and to give the pharmaceutical industry the opportunity to develop new and better antimicrobials for the future.

Those regions highlighted by the latest statistics need to look at what they are doing in comparison to those regions succeeding in reducing HCAIs and to learn from their success.  Complaining that the figures are disproportionate and that some regions have a higher throughput is no excuse.  The people who died shown in Edwina's presentation demonstrate the price families pay for not accepting the facts and dealing with them.

I will close with this comment, as parents or future parents, we all owe it to our children, that they inherit a National Health Service safer than the one passed on from our parents for if we fail we will have betrayed them and their future. This is why we should always strive to reduce HCAIs both in hospital and the community.

Edwina's interview more....  (large file)
Derek's interview more....  (large file)


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 info@mrsaactionuk.net