(c) MRSA Action UK April 2011
Unison's Annual Health Conference at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool was well attended by delegates and health professionals from across the UK. We had the opportunity to engage and share experiences and useful information. MRSA Action UK's stand drew a lot of attention and we were able to take some learning away from the event ourselves. Something that was raised related to the cleaning of equipment between patients, for example wheelchairs and stretchers. Whilst our hand hygiene posters were welcomed, one gentleman said there didn't ever seem to be anything on display to remind staff to clean equipment. He asked if we knew if porters at other hospitals had signage or systems in place to remind them, he said this also applied to ambulance drivers, as it was easy to forget if you were busy. If anyone knows of any good practice protocols on the cleaning of equipment in this area we would be interested to hear so that we can share and pass the information on. We were able to provide some networking opportunities to share good practice on rapid screening to be able to identify at risk patients quickly so that the necessary measures could be taken if they were found to be carrying MRSA.
With this being the 50th Anniversary year of the publication of MRSA in the British Medical Journal, we took the opportunity to discuss this with delegates who visited the stand. We held a free prize draw over 2 days in a mini quiz to attract the interest of delegates. They needed to read the information on our stall to find answers to the quiz, resulting in information, leaflets and posters on hand hygiene being taken away for use in their hospitals and care facilities. Carol Johnson won the draw on the first day and is pictured below with Derek.
Some delegates were surprised to learn that MRSA had been around for 50 years, others had learned this in their infection control training.
Some visitors to our stand believed that their hospital was MRSA free, we explained that this would be zero MRSA bacteraemias and would not include surgical, urinary tract, pneumonias, catheter and other infections, or colonisation. It would be unlikely to be able to say with any certainty that any hospital was completely MRSA free, but the zero bacteraemias were a good measure of the work that the hospital would have carried out to achieve this level, which is why we want to see the same level of monitoring on the other infections to reduce these to as low as possible.
We heard of cuts in staffing putting additional pressure on staff and one hospital had made their infection control link nurses redundant as they now believed they were on top of the problem of good infection prevention and control.
There was a demonstration against cuts outside of the conference building where Dave Prentis addressed the delegates. The Shadow Secretary of State for Health, John Healey also addressed the conference on the same afternoon.
The conference hosted events that focussed on patient safety - "Duty of care: ensuring safe, effective practise when your service is under pressure" was launched and Martin Bromley spoke of his personal campaign to improve patient safety.
We encouraged delegates to remind their hospital trusts and healthcare organisations to take part in events on the World Health Organisation's Annual Hand Hygiene Day on 5th May. We have also made hand washing posters available to download on the website at the request of delegates. The Give Soap a Chance leaflets and posters from Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust were also well received and delegates will no doubt be in touch with our colleague Eileen Henderson for more information.
We would like to thank Dave Godson of UNISON who arranged the space and a free table top exhibition stand at the event and look forward to working with UNISON in the future.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org