MRSA Action UK Annual Memorial Event
Westminster Abbey, July 7th 2011
Members and friends of MRSA Action UK gathered together to remember all those who had suffered and been lost to healthcare associated infections.  Guests included Julie Storr, Vice President of the Infection Prevention Society and the lead on the Cleanyourhands campaign.
Families laid tributes at the Innocent Victims stone where a service and blessing took place. As always it was a very moving occasion and an opportunity for everyone to share a special time to remember those they love.
After the ceremony a reception was held at Westminster Archive Centre where Derek Butler related events over the last year and Julie Storr spoke of her work with the Cleanyourhands campaign and how she was now keen to keep the momentum of the work that had brought about a focus and turnaround to events where infections like MRSA had reached an all time high.
We were joined by Caroline Morvan and Simon Price from Molnlycke Healthcare where we discussed plans for the Infection Prevention Society annual event, being held in Bournemouth.  This will provide opportunities to network with staff in Infection Prevention and Control, bringing the patient perspective, engaging to see how we can help each other.

  Eileen Henderson, Hull & East Yorkshire NHS Trust, Juliet Magee and Eiri Jones attended from Bedford Hospital.  Laura Probert from National Concern for Healthcare Infections also joined us. 

We were especially pleased that Julia and Steve Owen and Julia's Pa Charles were able to join us along with Sue Spratt who travelled from Sherborne with her friend Carol Llewellyn.

Jules and Steve are running every month this year to raise funds for MRSA Action UK, to raise awareness after Steve's dad sadly passed away with MRSA after an operation.
Friends gather at the entrance of Westminster Abbey.  John St Clair, Richard Hughes, Helen Bronstein, Sue Fallon, Clive Duncan, Andrew Large and colleagues before the ceremony. Below: Julie Storr and Derek Butler lay the charity's wreath to remember all those who had been lost.
Julie Storr lays a tribute in memory of John Howard Crews, Derek's stepfather and Marion's husband.
Helen Bronstein remembers her mum.
Laura Probert remembers her mum.
Eiri Jones lays a tribute from Bedford Hospital, in honour of all those affected by healthcare associated infections.
Maria and John lay a tribute to Patricia.
Joanna Coates lays a tribute from Unison
Sue Fallon lays a tribute in memory of dear Sammie
We pause in thought for Sue's loss of her daughter

Sue Spratt lays a tribute to her dear husband Fred who died after contracting infections following treatment in hospital. Sue's tribute to Fred is very moving.
"In loving memory of my dear husband Fred.  You were prepared to give your life for this country and you spent your life helping others, you did not deserve to die with a hospital infection"
Derek talks about the work with children and how important education is for health and well-being
Julie recalls her first experience of a patient contracting MRSA and the impact it had on her and the family
 Jules and Steve after the service and reception
There were apologies from Professor Hugh Pennington this year, he had been advised not to travel following minor surgery so could not be with us, he wished us well. Edwina Currie had hoped to be in London during some filming, however her itinerary did not bring her to London so she could not be with us. Edwina is however going to attend Westinghouse, Springfields plant in Preston in a couple of weeks to thank Derek's employer's for giving Derek the time to carry out his charitable work with MRSA Action UK, and to meet staff at the plant, which is a good way of reaching out to get the message out there about the important work involved in playing our part in preventing antibiotic resistance, and reminding everyone about hand hygiene, both socially and in healthcare.

Mavis and Sharon Law could not be with us, and Wendy Slack had just had her baby so was also not able to join us, congratulations to Wendy on the birth of her son John James. Derek gave an overview of events since last year's Memorial Event. The prediction last year that 2010/11 would be a tough year for the charity, both financially and in our campaigning and lobbying with a new government coming into power, was indeed true with new challenges emerging, both in terms of the bacteria evolving and the changes that were being introduced on regulation and commissioning of services.

Derek was pleased to give an upbeat overview, which touched very briefly on what the charity had been involved in over the past year. Derek especially wanted to thank Steve and Jules for their magnificent and tireless efforts since March in raising funds and running every month in memory of Steve's dad Donald.  At the end of Derek's overview of the year he warned that were many challenges still ahead, not least the fact that on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the discovery of MRSA, we seemed to be moving into a new era of bacteria that are resistant to every known antibiotic we have, and it is now time for everyone to play their part or future generations will never forgive us if we go back to a time when we were without them.

Julie Storr spoke of how 20 years ago when she was an infection control nurse, she saw the effect the news that a lady who had got MRSA had on the family.  Julie knew about MRSA, but this was the first time she had seen it herself and she knew it was likely it was because someone didn't wash their hands.

Julie became involved with the World Health Organisation and the cleanyourhands campaign looking at behaviour change. Those involved in the launch and implementation of Cleanyourhands wanted to keep its momentum of and formed the alliance with patient groups and other partners in healthcare for this reason. There was other work going on with the World Health Organisation with the Patients for Patient Safety alliance, to which patient groups like MRSA Action UK were invited to participate. Maria proposed that Helen Bronstein become involved on behalf of the charity, Helen was pleased to accept and we will therefore have a link in to this important alliance.

Derek added to Julie's summation of where we were and where we were going by quoting John F Kennedy in his American University speech, Washington DC 1963, who said "....for, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." Derek used this to remind us all that at some point we will all need healthcare and we will expect it to be safe, quality care.

To download Derek's presentation click here

To view the tribute click here, please allow a minute for the music to download