Hand Hygiene Master Class

Handing out some infectious wisdom at
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Pinderfields Hospital
27th January 2014

The Chair of a charity championing better hygiene control in hospitals handed out a heartrending lesson in why beating MRSA is so vital.

Derek Butler was a founding member of MRSA Action UK with many others, following the death of his stepfather in 2003. And in a poignant presentation to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust staff at Pinderfields, he challenged health care professionals to, "look to the past and learn from it; so that today we can change tomorrow."

Derek's stepfather John endured a torrid time in hospital following a heart attack and contracted three infections during his 15-week stay. "John's story is one of neglect and denial" remembered Derek, "There was a failure to recognise either John's needs or the needs of the family."

In stark contrast, Derek also relayed the positive story of his father who received emergency care at a different hospital - after eating some contaminated meat. Derek said: "He was eventually moved to the General Ward but standards never dropped. To paraphrase Aristotle, excellence is not an act, but a habit."

Joining Derek on the podium at the Hand Hygiene Master Class on 27th January was Claire Kilpatrick - who also consults on patient safety for the World Health Organisation - and Julie Storr. The President of the Infection Prevention Society of the UK and Ireland, Julie is currently co-writing a book on perceptions and perspectives in infection prevention and control.

Claire Kilpatrick, Derek Butler and Julie Storr

The speakers and breakout sessions were well received by the 60 delegates who attended. Diane Goodwin, Maternity Ward Manager at Dewsbury, said: "The day really made me think and when you hear personal stories it sticks better. I think we all knew it was important to have high standards of hygiene - now we also know why."

The number of death certificates mentioning Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) fell by 20% from 364 in 2011 to 292 in 2012. The number of recorded cases in Scotland also reached a record low recently.

Derek Butler said: "If we went back ten years and saw some of the standards, we would be horrified. We are only a step-back from that. I was very angry at the time of John's death but now we work with health care professionals and I do believe we can win this battle."

Made up of volunteers, MRSA Action UK raises awareness of healthcare associated infections and works alongside practitioners and patients to improve standards.

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

The information on this website is for general purposes only and is not a substitute for qualified medical care, if you are unwell please seek medical advice.

(c) MRSA Action UK 2014