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Hospital infection rates remain far too high

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

An NHS watchdog has found that not enough is being done by hospital staff to prevent the spread of infection. Around 300,000 patients in England develop an infection during their stay in an NHS hospital every year.  Prof Gillian Leng from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said that the rates are unacceptable, and more needs to be done to prevent it.  They have already issued “quality standards” on many measures including hand-washing and catheter insertion.

Well-known hospital infections, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, have seen a great decline in rates over recent years.  However, one in sixteen people treated by the NHS still pick up an infection. These can occur as a result of invasive procedures or when devices used by other patients, such as urinary catheters, are fitted.  Infections such as pneumonia and infections of the lower respiratory tract tend to develop after these types of procedure. These account for 23% of the total, with urinary infections at 17% and surgical site infections at 16%.

‘Top priority of every health service organisation’

Standards put in place by NICE state that patients should be prescribed antibiotics in accordance with guidelines, and that hospital staff should follow all procedures, such as hand-washing, scrupulously.   Prof Leng said: “Infections are a costly and avoidable burden. They hinder a patient’s recovery, can make underlying conditions worse, and reduce quality of life.

Director of the Royal College of Nursing in England, Tom Sandford, said that infection control should be the top priority of every health service organisation in the country.

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