MRSA remains a real concern at local hospitals

Report shows West London hospitals amongst worst in the country

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During 2004/05 the Health Protection Agency on behalf of the Department of Health, carried out a survey to assess MRSA rates throughout all Trusts. Figures revealed last week showed that Ealing Hospital NHS Trust has succeeded in reducing MRSA rates year on year since recording started in 2001.   Almost half of the MRSA cases reported in 2004 had the infection in their blood at the time of hospital admission. Although regular hand washing by staff between patients is crucial, this fact also highlights the responsibility of visitors and patients to reduce the spread of MRSA and other infections.

Dr William Lynn, Director of Infection Prevention and Control said “These results are encouraging and reflect the hard work put in by the Infection Control Team and staff throughout the Hospital.  However, we are not complacent and are continuing to work hard to reduce the rate even further”.

This report comes after a damming TV documentary exposed the dismally poor standards of care and cleanliness at Ealing hospital. Undercover nurses working for Channel 4’s dispatches used tiny hidden cameras to show how the working practices within the hospital.  Concerns about the hospital cleanliness had already been voiced by local Lib Dem councillor Gary Malcolm. Malcolm, who is a patient at Ealing hospital, claimed his personal experience bore out much of the content of the programme.  He stated “I have said for a number of years that Ealing hospital has not been run effectively. The video documentary shows clearly that much needs to be done to improve the cleanliness.”

Over at West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust however, the report shows that cases of MRSA have risen by an alarming 10%.  Tony Arbour, London Assembly Member for Hounslow reacted angrily to news saying, “This rise has not come about because of the staff, the blame lies with hospital managers and the government. This obsession with waiting lists is creating pressure to cut corners. It’s about time we started caring more about patients and less about headlines and spin.”

These figures came out in the same week that the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published a damming report on lackadaisical attitudes to the MRSA problem. The report said there is “evidence that wider factors such as bed management policies and the need to meet waiting time targets can compromise infection prevention and control”. Earlier this month, hospital doctors ‘blamed managers’ “obsession” with hitting government waiting list targets’ for the outbreak of the bug Clostridium difficile.

Cases of MRSA in local NHS trusts:

Ealing Hospital NHS Trust: 0.18 per thousand bed-days. Ealing has moved up, and is now well clear of its former position in the bottom five Acute Trusts. 

Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust: 0.24 per thousand bed-days

West Middlesex University NHS Trust: 0.23 per thousand

Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust has shown an improvement but both of these trusts remain languishing near the bottom of the table.



June 27, 2005