MRSA Action UK comment on Andrew Lansley’s departure as Secretary of State for Health
In spite of some of the headlines regarding the departure of Andrew Lansley, MRSA Action UK recognises his achievements regarding the scourge of healthcare associated infections in our hospitals. Superbugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile were a national disgrace in our health service, and in the last 7 years two former Health Secretaries have set benchmarks to tackle the scourge of avoidable healthcare associated infections.
Those were John Reid the former Labour Health Secretary who set the target to halve the cases of MRSA bloodstream infections over a 4-year period in 2004. Shortly after this a target was set to reduce Clostridium difficile, followed by the requirement to publish infection rates for hospital trusts every 3 months, and then monthly just before the 2010 general election.
The other was Andrew Lansley, who on taking the portfolio of Health Secretary under the coalition government, immediately initiated the change of extending the reporting of not only MRSA and Clostridium difficile, but also E.coli and MSSA. The other major change that Andrew Lansley introduced was the reporting of MRSA and Clostridium difficile by individual hospitals and to weekly reporting.
Andrew Lansley once said in a speech that he began this process by requiring the publication of weekly data on MRSA bloodstream and Clostridium difficile infections because he had spent too long with too many people who have lost loved ones to healthcare associated infections, and was determined to act on this.
We also believe that Andrew Lansley was right when he said that there is no tolerable level of preventable infections. The only acceptable strategy is a zero tolerance strategy.
We will have to wait and see what the new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s perspective will be on avoidable healthcare associated infections. Will he listen to patient Charity’s such as MRSA Action UK as Andrew Lansley did and who acted on many of our concerns, or will we see fighting infections consigned to the back burner?
The Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Burnham has tweeted “that the new Health Secretary has said that Government should have no role in NHS provision and calls pre-Lansley NHS a fundamentally broken machine”. We hope he is wrong, only time will tell.
We hope that the new Health Secretary will continue to keep healthcare associated infections at the top of the government and health service agenda and to continue to drive down infections to the irreducible minimum. We wish Andrew Lansley good luck in his new position as Leader of the House and thank him for the time he has given to meeting so many of those who have been affected by the scourge of avoidable healthcare infections.
MRSA Action UK