UK Government Unlikely To Meet MRSA Targets

The UK government is unlikely to meet its target of reducing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates by 50% by 2008, says an Editorial in this week’s edition of The Lancet. This is despite the recent announcement from the UK Health Protection Agency that the number of patients with MRSA has fallen by 6% since January this year.

(ag/ehj) – The Editorial says that the so-called “mops and matrons” approach has diverted attention away from fundamental health management issues. It says: “Adherence to hand-cleaning practices rarely exceeds 60% among health-care workers. But evidence shows that increasing the opportunities that health professionals have to clean their hands by placing an alcohol-based handrub beside every hospital bed and encouraging them to carry handrub, substantially improves hand hygiene practices.”

It adds that good antibiotic prescribing practice is essential, but few National Health Service (NHS) trusts in the UK provide relevant training, saying: “Such staff management issues need to be resolved along with other practical problems that hamper health workers’ ability to prevent infections, such as the lack of single rooms in NHS hospitals to isolate and treat infected patients.”

The Editorial concludes by welcoming the UK Healthcare Commission’s pledge to undertake a programme of unannounced inspections at 120 trusts over the coming year – its biggest ever set of visits relating to health-care-associated infections. The Editorial says: “This move is welcome and should put the necessary pressure on trusts to put infection control at the core of hospital care.”

Further information:

The Lancet:

Tony Kirby
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