Thursday, July 17 - NHS announce fall in infection rates in South West

PUBLISHED: 13:27 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:18 10 June 2010

THE NHS has announced rates of healthcare associated infections are falling in many hospitals across the South West.

THE NHS has announced rates of healthcare associated infections are falling in many hospitals across the South West.

Figures released by the Health Protection Agency today (show that good progress continues to be made across the South West in combating infections.

In the three months January to March 2008, there were 88 reports of MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) across the region.

This is a 39 per cent reduction compared to the same period last year, when there were 144 cases.

Clostridium difficile - the antibiotic-associated diarrhoea bug - in patients aged over 65, the most affected age group, have also fallen.

Between January and March 2007 there were 1658 cases. In the same period this year that number has fallen to 1262 - a reduction of 24 per cent.

The NHS said providing clean facilities, and infection control are a top priority for healthcare providers as well as for patients, their families and carers.

A stronger focus on cleanliness is a key ambition for the NHS in the South West, and the drive to reduce healthcare associated infections continues. The aim is to reduce rates of all types of infection through stringent hygiene, more isolation facilities, and better screening of patients.

Liz Redfern, Director of Nursing and Patient Care at NHS South West, said:

"I am encouraged by the latest infection rate data, and to see that many Trusts have made even further improvements in recent months in terms of combating infections. This is thanks to the hard work of staff across the South West.

"Despite a slight increase in cases of Clostridium difficile in recent months, the overall trend when comparing last year with this, has been a positive one, with a 24 per cent reduction in cases. The indications are that this positive trend has continued from May to June of this year.

"Hospitals and health communities in the South West have been tackling the issue of infection control in a number of ways including pubic awareness and patient-safety campaigns, improving antibiotic prescribing, steam cleaning, and increased screening for MRSA.

"Whilst latest rates may indicate that good progress is being made, we simply cannot afford anything less than a zero tolerance attitude towards bugs, and we are continuing to work with those trusts where problems are still apparent to ensure that we achieve our aims of reducing the rates of all types of infection across the South West".

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