Policy Briefings

Healthcare Infections - a Manifesto for 2010
Since the publication of our first Manifesto in September 2008 there have been many changes in the NHS and some considerable progress made towards conquering the problem of healthcare associated infections and recognition of the need to tackle the issue of antimicrobial resistance. With the prospect of a General Election next year and time for pledges to be made, it is time to look at what more needs to be done to tackle healthcare associated infections.

MRSA Action UK written evidence to the Inquiry into Patient Safety

MRSA Action UK submission on the new arrangements for the Regulation of The Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections
"Changes to arrangements for regulating NHS bodies in relation to healthcare associated infections for 2009/10 - A consultation for the NHS"

MRSA Action UK submission on Death Certification and Coroners' Reform Bill
MRSA Action UK response to the Ministry of Justice draft charter for bereaved people who come into contact with a reformed coroner system

MRSA Action UK appeals to the Secretary of State for Health to continue to invest in reducing the risks from infections across the whole healthcare economy. Read our proposal to the government "Healthcare Infections - A Manifesto".

MRSA Action UK response to the draft NICE guidelines on surgical site infections 2008, with an emphasis on the attention to aseptic non-touch technique and achieving excellence in this important area of clinical care, we have advocated linkages with the Hygiene Code and Saving Lives.

MRSA Action UK welcomes the guidance on Surgical Site Infection (SSI). We believe this guidance should be incorporated into the Hygiene Code and "Saving Lives" programme and welcome the opportunity to be involved in its ongoing development as new evidence and knowledge is gained in understanding how SSIs are acquired and how they can be prevented.

MRSA Action UK response to Developing the Annual Health Check in 2008/2009

MRSA Action UK response to Developing the Annual Health Check in 2007/2008

MRSA Action UK response to Department of Health's Patients Bill of Rights - April 2007
The Department of health have consulted with patient groups on a Patients; Bill of Rights. This is still to be agreed. MRSA Action UK have played a major role in developing the proposal, and look forward to the Department of Health's response to the final submission.

MRSA Action UK response to the Department of Health Consultation "Action on Healthcare Associated Infections in England" - Now enshrined in legislation The Health Act 2006, Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Health Care Associated Infections (the Hygiene Code)

MRSA - Learning from the Best conference, 26 March 2007, Department of Health Speech summary - Dr Margreet Vos

The Netherlands has had major success in keeping MRSA out of its hospitals.

One of the leading places for developing effective strategies to achieve this is the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam.

In 2002, at a neighbouring hospital, there was a sudden increase in the cases of MRSA among patients and healthcare workers, rising from an average of 400 to 1,200 cases. One of the main causes was the introduction of a new strain of MRSA. But it was not recognised as MRSA and in 2002 it, and other strains, were detected elsewhere.

At the 1,200-bed Erasmus Medical Centre University Hospital, there were about 20 positive cases of MRSA per year. In 2002 this rose to 70.

Now in 2004 there is no MRSA in the outbreak hospital and other incidents are quickly eradicated using search and destroy.

"This is proof that you can come from a high endemic level then to hardly any MRSA. Many cultures are now taken from patients and healthcare workers and you don't see any outbreaks," said Dr Vos.

Dr Vos said one of the main reasons for success was search and destroy which involves the early detection, early identification and early containment of infection and encompasses patients, healthcare workers and the healthcare environment.

The critical success factors in the Netherlands highlighted by Dr Vos were:

. A national policy on infection prevention and control benchmarked by the Healthcare Inspectorate
. National laboratory guidelines on detection and the transportation of patients from abroad
. Local infection control committees implement policy, infection control facilities such as isolation rooms and trained healthcare workers exist
. All new healthcare workers are educated about healthcare-associated infections
. Risk classification of patients and healthcare workers (Class A - proven, Class B -high risk, Class C - increased risk Class D - no risk)

- Class A and B - strict isolation on admission, pending culture test results
- Staff that come into contact with those patients wear gloves, a gown, mask and cap
- Class C are screened and limited contact made until proven negative
- Class A staff are removed from the hospital immediately and stay at home until proven negative
- Class B are restricted in their movement at work until proven negative

. In the event of an outbreak the ward closes and only reopens after all patients and healthcare workers are negative, the ward is disinfected and non-disinfected material, such as paper, is destroyed.

Dr Vos said: "Search and destroy is not evidence-based - it is a package of measures. I can't give you the evidence base. But these are measures that do work. Search and destroy lacks evidence but this is not an argument to stop successful strategies."

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