Opinion Former Article

Infection Prevention & Control 2016 Conference hears from experts and patients on the need to heed best practice set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Public Health England figures released earlier this month show that the number of recorded cases of MRSA for the third quarter of 2015 are up 9% on the same period in 2014.

The latest Public Health England figures (December 2015) have shown a worrying increasing trend in healthcare associated infections. Although MRSA bacteraemias have reduced by 2% in the Acute hospital setting, cases have risen by 9% outside of hospital. Overall Staphylococcal and Clostridium difficile infections have increased by 7%. Clostridium difficile has increased by 6% compared to the same period in the previous year and MSSA has risen by 7%. Rates have plateaued for some time, in fact MRSA Action UK had reported this some 4 years ago in a press release but were dismissed by some within healthcare for scare mongering. If this is a continuing trend, and we believe that it is, then action needs to be taken now to prevent this rise from becoming an uncontrolled and an endemic issue. We have made representations to the Chief Medical Officer raising our concerns and informed Andrea Jenkyns MP in her capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Patient Safety so this is heard at the right level.

These worrying trends were seemingly pre-empted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) who in April 2014 were clear about the risk of letting infection control efforts slip. In unveiling Quality Standard 61, the Institute drew attention to the continuing impact of healthcare associated infections. With an estimated 300,000 people acquiring an infection while being cared for within the NHS in England each year, and one in 16 people being treated on the NHS picking up an infection. For humanity there is a duty on Trusts and healthcare professionals to redouble their infection prevention and control endeavours to tackle this trend and save lives, and improve the patients’ quality of care, who will suffer if they contract an infection - and increase the resources needed to care for them.

The Chairman of the Conference, taking place in London, is MRSA Action UK Chair, Derek Butler, who is also presenting on the human impact of healthcare associated infections. Experts will present from NHS England, Public Health England, The Sepsis Trust and other professionals in the field of antimicrobial resistance and infection prevention and control.

This conference is timely with the stresses of rising numbers of patients presenting at GP surgeries and at A&E, receiving more and more complex procedures.

The media has also recently picked up on the tragic stories of the deaths from Sepsis that could so easily have been avoided. It is very sad that the deaths of young children have featured, but it has highlighted the need for all healthcare professionals to be alert and learn to recognise potential signs when patients first present themselves for diagnosis. There is tremendous pressure on call handlers from the 111 and 999 services, and there are questions over the appropriateness of the guidance used in the advice given over the telephone for very young children. We must ask ourselves why with all the technology and training our Doctors and Nurses receive, this diagnosis is still missed. This issue reinforces why we must always lobby to ensure patients receive the best care possible from professionals who are trained to the highest standards with the resources to do so at their disposal.

Derek Butler
MRSA Action UK
Telephone: 07762 741114
Email: derek.j.butler@mrsaactionuk.net
Website: http://mrsaactionuk.net

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