ENSURING patients do not pick up infections in hospital is a key priority for health bosses.
That’s the message from being given by Dr Caroline Mitchell, consultant in infection prevention and control, at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth.
It comes as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued quality standards on measures including hand-washing and catheter insertion.
Rates of MRSA and clostridium difficile (C.diff) – the most well-known hospital-acquired infections – have fallen.
According to Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs QA, its shows there were four cases of MRSA in the last financial year, against six cases the year before.
And last financial year there were 30 cases of C.diff against a plan of 30. The previous year’s figures were unavailable.
Dr Mitchell said: ‘We’ve made our C.diff target and reduced MRSA.
‘But yes, we must look at other infections that can be picked up in a hospital environment. At the moment we are measuring infections in orthopaedics and we don’t feel like there’s a concern.
‘We’ll be looking at colorectal surgery.’
NICE has said that nationally 300,000 patients develop an infection in England each year while being treated by the NHS.
Infections can occur during invasive procedures or when devices such as urinary catheters are fitted.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive, and director of health and social care for NICE, said: ‘Although there have been major improvements within the NHS in infection control, particularly with C.diff and MRSA in the last few years, healthcare-associated infections are still a real threat to patients, their families and carers and staff.
‘This quality standard gives primary, community and secondary care services the most up-to-date advice on the best ways to minimise the risks of infections.’
PHT said it would look at standards given by NICE at its infection control management committee next month.
Dr Mitchell said: ‘It’s a really good document and I welcome it.’