Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Health chiefs have pledged to not get complacent after it emerged that Norfolk’s acute hospitals have been free of a superbug for two years.
In 2004, there were almost 140 hospital-acquired MRSA bacteraemia cases across Norfolk, which can be life-threatening.
Front-line staff were praised yesterday after it was revealed that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, have been completely clear of MRSA blood stream infections for two years.
Improved standards of cleanliness, prudent antibiotic prescribing, and regular testing have helped the three hospitals to protect patients from getting the bacterial infection that is resistant to a number of widely-used antibiotics.
Norfolk’s biggest hospital, the N&N, celebrates two years of being MRSA free today. Officials at the James Paget University Hospital have not had to record a case of hospital-acquired MRSA since February 2012 and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been MRSA-free since January 2012.
Officials from the N&N said they had cracked down on the superbug by swabbing every patient admitted to the Colney hospital and processes were in place to isolate patients who are assessed as being at higher risk of MRSA.
Anna Dugdale, chief executive, said: “To have gone two years MRSA free is a fantastic achievement and the result of a huge team effort and relentless attention to detail. This work has been spearheaded by our infection prevention and control team, led by Dr Ngozi Elumogo with support from every member of staff. Every member of the team, cleaners, porters, laboratory staff, doctors, nurses, administrative staff and our volunteers are involved in our fight against infection. This is a huge achievement and one we are very proud of,” she said.
Officials at the N&N and Serco are also looking to improve infection control standards by introducing a Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing pilot to monitor the cleanliness of the environment and equipment on hospital wards. The test involves taking swabs from surfaces which have been cleaned and testing them for germs not visible to the naked eye.
Dr Elumogo, director of infection prevention and control at the N&N, added: “It is important that every member of staff sees infection prevention and control as part of their work and integral to everything they do. We are constantly improving our infection prevention and control processes and we will soon be adding real time scientific environmental tests to ensure our hospital is as clean and safe as possible for patients.”
Liz Libiszewski, director of nursing, quality and patient experience at the James Paget University Hospital, added that screening all emergency admissions for MRSA, increased cleaning, prudent antibiotic prescribing, use of isolation facilities had proven effective in stamping down on MRSA.
“We are not complacent and therefore infection prevention is very high on everyone’s agenda, from initial induction and through teaching and training, which has led to increased awareness amongst staff,” she said.
• The N&N is staging a public meeting on March 25 at 6.30pm in the Benjamin Gooch Lecture Theatre on the theme of ‘how good is your hospital and what changes can you expect over the next five years.’