Tackling transmission of healthcare associated infections

MRSA Action UK joined the debate in the House of Lords which was the culmination of the work of patient charities and advocates working alongside healthcare professionals whose expertise is in Infection Prevention and Control. Advances in technology and medical practice means that more patients are able to be treated for conditions that were unmanageable even a few years ago. The pool of patients susceptible to infection is ever-increasing and the challenge is to protect them in their most vulnerable moments.

The key themes surrounding the goal of avoiding or reducing healthcare-associated infections remain:

- Appropriate antibiotic prescribing and research on microbial resistance must be maintained

- All opportunities for preventing infection in hospitals should be identified and eliminated as far as practicable

- Improved hospital design will facilitate the avoidance of healthcare-associated infections

- Engaged NHS staff take pride and responsibility in making everything clean and "ship-shape"

- Community-based care is in the spotlight

- Death certification remains an issue

An alliance has been formed with patient groups and charities with a call to action "Together Everyone Achieves More". The alliance has formulated five priority areas in the call to action:

1. Education

Wide-ranging and continuing education is fundamental. It is important to communicate widely that everyone should have a zero tolerance of avoidable healthcare-associated infections. The vital role of the advocacy community in reaching millions of people with information and support is a critical factor in tackling this issue effectively and in a sustained way.

2. Public and patient empowerment

Patients and those who care for them have the right to be informed and involved in their treatment and specific, condition-related, risks. Engaged patients are partners in their own healthcare safety. Patient focused groups have a key role to play in empowering them by providing consistent and updated information on infection risks, the avoidance measures that patients and their families can take, and the guidelines that are in place.

3. Care and treatment

Significant progress has been made in reducing MRSA bacteraemias and C. difficile infections. This positive outcome needs to be maintained while extending action against other and emerging pathogens, providing clarity on emerging dangers.

4. Partnership working

The value of partnership working lies in joint initiatives reaching more people, across different specialties, on many agendas. Bringing together different perspectives, approaches and ideas around consistent messages will make it increasingly possible to engage effectively across patient groups and care providers.

5. Scientific and medical investment

Research underpins our understanding of how to prevent and treat healthcare associated infections. We should strive to stay ahead of the evolving threats to safe care by undertaking scientific and clinical research, and rigorously testing the range of available interventions.

Partnership working will continue in drawing together advocacy and knowledge across the health economy and the lobby for continuing investment in preventing avoidable infections is ongoing.


The Report from the Office of The Lord Harris of Haringey

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