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MRSA & MSSA news on British Nursing News Online
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27 records found from year 2006

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Monday, 22 May 2006 11:43
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
NHS care has improved despite bed numbers falling by a third in the last 20 years, health bosses have claimed.

The NHS Confederation, which represents NHS managers, said technical advancement and better community care meant patients could spend less time in hospital.

In a briefing paper the organisation acknowledged that a drop in the number of beds from 211,617 to 145,218 (31 per cent) between 1984 and 2004 had caused “emotions to run high”.

Bed numbers have been falling in countries across Europe for a variety of reasons since 1950.

Advances in surgical techniques mean procedures such as hernia and gall bladder removals, which would have required the patient to spend a week or more in hospital a few decades ago, can now be carried out as day surgery.

The nature of care has also changed, with more work now carried out in the community by GPs and physiotherapists.

Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "More patients are being treated faster and more effectively than ever before by the NHS.

"The number of actual beds has steadily reduced, yet the amount of care the service is able to deliver has dramatically increased."

Instead, Ms Morgan said the public should move away from concentrating on bed numbers.

"We need to move away from this fixation with bricks and mortar," she said.

"The world is changing, patients' needs are changing and the NHS is adapting to meet those needs.

"It's not surprising that people believe that more beds mean better patient care - this has been the assumption for many years.

"We must start judging the NHS by the number of people we make better and keep well, not by the amount of beds which are, after all, only hospital furniture.

"Developments in technology and changes in the way treatment is delivered mean we simply need fewer beds."

But Paul Miller, chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants committee, said there were still cases where cost pressures had meant too many beds had been lost.

"Doctors do sometimes struggle to get patients into wards.

"We may have to spread people around the hospital, but that means that patients who need to be on a surgical ward may end up on another type of ward which does not have the right resources. That can compromise patient care.

"The NHS is facing large deficits and this is putting even more pressure on hospitals to make cuts."

Joyce Robbins, from the group Patient Concern, said fewer beds being constantly rotated led to patients catching new infections.

She said: "One of the reasons that our MRSA rate is the highest in Europe is because we have 100% bed occupancy policy.

"Somebody gets out of them, a couple of hours later somebody else is in them."

Niall Dickson, of the independent healthcare charity the King's Fund, said: "The trick will be to see that as you shut down capacity in the big hospitals that you are able at the same time to get smarter in the way that you deliver community services."

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Sunday, 21 May 2006 10:06
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Health chiefs in the Western Isles have come under fire after it emerged that cases of the deadly superbug MRSA have trebled at a Stornoway hospital.

A leaked internal report shows the number of patients catching the bug at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, has trebled in just one month.

This latest revelations will put more pressure on the troubled Western Isles NHS board, which has recently received complaints from staff of bullying, intimidation and financial mismanagement. In March, NHS staff passed an unprecedented vote of no confidence in the health board’s senior management.

Alasdair Morrison, Western Isles Labour MSP, said he was alarmed at the “staggering increase” in cases of MRSA.

“In previous years the Western Isles Hospital enjoyed an unrivalled reputation in terms of what was concerning other people in other hospitals across the UK,” he said.

“I’ll be expecting the health board to present this report to the health minister. The health board must explain to the minister but equally they must explain to the community what on Earth has gone wrong, why things have gone wrong and ultimately someone or some people have to accept responsibility".

Angus Graham, a Western Isles councillor, claimed staff had voiced concerns prior to the isolation ward closure of the impact this would have on infection control , but the health board had failed to listen.

“The direct effect of some of the actions they have taken is now beginning to show in the infection rates in the hospital,” he said.

Jane Adams, nursing director at the Western Isles NHS board, admitted that changes at the hospital may have resulted in the increase in MRSA cases. “The board must reduce its overspend and operate within its resources. Changes have been made to enable this to happen. It is reasonable at this point to link these two events,” she said.

But Adams added that despite the fact that the board was “not investigating any serious illnesses or deaths due to MRSA” it was not being complacent. “Although we remain one of the hospitals with one of the lowest rates in Scotland, we are very disappointed in this latest trend and are working hard to contain it".

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Thursday, 18 May 2006 12:01
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Scientists have discovered a new antibiotic which is effective in fighting drug-resistant hospital superbugs.

Platensimycin is in the early stages of development but could potentially prove invaluable in the fight against bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Enterococcus, resistant to even the most powerful modern antibiotics such as vancomycin.

Most antibiotics were discovered in the 1940s and 50s and work by disrupting the formation of a bacterium’s walls, proteins or DNA, so that it cannot reproduce and spread.

But DNA mutations can make bacteria immune to the effects of drugs and, as the use of antibiotics has risen in the past few decades, so has the number of pathogenic bacteria that have developed resistance to them.

"It is believed that the widespread drug resistance among bacterial pathogens is due to the limited choice of antibiotics," wrote Eric Brown of McMaster University in Canada in an accompanying article.

The new antibiotic, a molecule produced by Streptomyces platensis, a fungus-like bacterium, works in a different way to previous antibiotics, inhibiting an enzyme called FabF which is used in the formation of fatty acids in bacterial cells.

Dr Brown said platensimycinhad an “extraordinary” way of working, although it is not the first anti-bacterial compound to attack the formation of fatty acids.

An experiment on mice infected with Staphylococcus aureus showed that the new drug cleared the bacteria with no harmful side effects. Despite this, it will be at least ten years before it becomes available in pharmacies.

"The path ahead remains a long one that includes further preclinical study and, if these studies are successful, extensive clinical trials for safety and efficacy in humans," said Dr Brown. "Platensimycin is nevertheless the most potent inhibitor reported so far for FabF."

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Saturday, 22 April 2006 09:31
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The bird flu virus can be killed with a £2.99 hand cleanser that is available on the High Street, scientists claim.

Tests have shown that No-Germs which is made in the UK by Advanced Formulations can eradicate 99.8 per cent of the H5N1 strain in around 30 seconds.

The pump-pack spray has been on sale in pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores for over a year.

Because it is used without water, there is no need for rinsing. And unlike similar products it is alcohol free, which is thought to make it more effective.

Originally No-Germs was developed to fight MRSA infection, one of the most prevalent superbugs in the Health Service.

Experts now believe it can help stop bird flu spreading, and reduce the likelihood of the virus mutating.

The tests at Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry in London indicated that No-Germs significantly cuts the risk of 'indirect transmission'.

This happens when a virus is picked up from a surface such as a railing or door handle and transferred to the face.

Around 80 per cent of all common viral and bacterial infections are spread in this way, by hand-to-mouth and nose-to-eye contact. On average, people touch their faces every five minutes.

Dr Robert Lambkin, the managing director of Retroscreen said other routes of transmission, by coughing or sneezing, remain significant in the fight against bird flu.

"But much of the problem can be contained by making sure that we don't get infected through contact with surfaces such as door handles," he added.

At present, H5N1 can only be caught through direct contact with infected birds.

But Dr Lambkin said: "If the virus did cross the species barrier, healthcare workers, research scientists and the general public would benefit from a hand wash against the H5N1 virus to prevent indirect transmission of the virus”.

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Tuesday, 11 April 2006 09:30
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Pyjamas made from a bacteria-resistant fabric that destroys the killer bug MRSA are to be tested in trials at Newham University Hospital, east London.

The makers of the special silver yarn cloth claim it is clinically proven to eliminate 99.99 per cent of more than 800 micro-organisms - including MRSA - in less than one hour of exposure.

Dr Peter Wilson, who is conducting the trials said: "Silver is a very efficient in the fight against infection.

"I can envisage a transformation in our hospitals so that all patients will be required to wear pyjamas containing silver”.

Keith Mitchell, whose firm Toray makes the fabric, said the use of silver to fight germs dates back to the ancient Egyptians.

Mr Mitchell said: "Silver has always been used to fight bacteria. It's clinically proven to kill off 99.9per cent of them”.

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Friday, 31 March 2006 09:49
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Professor Tony Maxwell a scientist at the John Innes Centre, near Norwich claims that bacteria found in soil can be used to attack and kill drug resistant super-bugs such as MRSA.

The professor said a streptomyces strain found in soil which produces a natural antibiotic was "persuaded" to make a potentially more powerful version. The breakthrough will help to develop new antibiotics to fight the infections. They could be available in five years.

He said “the find was in pinpointing the parts of the antibiotic molecule which killed bacteria.

“This could be used to make designer medicines, both more powerful and with fewer side-effects”.

He added: "Our research will help others in the field to develop drugs”.

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Wednesday, 22 March 2006 11:08
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The Healthcare Commission’s annual survey has revealed that 40 per cent of hospital staff do not have constant access to the hot water, soap, paper towels and alcohol rubs needed to prevent the spread of the MRSA superbug.

The findings, published today, are based on responses form 209,000 employees in 570 trusts in England. A quarter of respondents said trusts did not sufficiently promote the importance of hand-washing to staff, patients and visitors.

Karen Jennings, head of health at the public service union Unison, said: "It seems incredible, when the risk of cross-infection in hospitals is so high, that two out of five staff still do not have access to basic hot water, soap and paper towels or alcohol rubs ... it is shameful that nearly a half of all staff have still not had any training in infection control."

Sixty one per cent of respondents said that hygiene materials were always available when needed. However, this dropped as low as 46 per cent at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals in Enfield, and 50 per cent at Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London.

Only 38 per cent of ambulance staff in London were satisfied that the basic materials for effective hygiene were always available.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the commission, said: "It is worrying that a small but significant minority of staff reported that adequate hand-cleaning facilities were not always available when needed, both for themselves and for patients and others."

She added that trusts would be investigated as part of an annual check on whether they meet hygiene standards.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We are pleased that nearly 90% of staff felt hand-hygiene facilities were available either always or most of the time and that staff recognise their importance in reducing infections.

"We are now legislating to put a code of practice and a tougher inspection regime into law to drive up standards of hygiene and infection control, with ultimate sanctions for trusts who fail to deliver."

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Monday, 13 March 2006 11:26
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Health officials are still to decide which trusts are to be visited by MRSA “hit squads” a month after the plans were announced, the BBC has reported.

In February, ministers said that teams would be sent into the 20 trusts with the “biggest MRSA challenges”, but since then only three have begun.

When she announced the specialist teams a month ago, health minister Jane Kennedy said that half of trusts were not meeting MRSA targets. The same day she announced teams would be sent to three trusts, Sandwell, Northumbria and Aintree, who had volunteered for help.

But in the subsequent weeks no more trusts have been allocated teams.

The Department of Health said it had always planned to allocate teams over the coming months and denied undue delays.

A spokesman said: "It is not taking a long time - it is actually quite a sensible way of doing things."

He said that those with the worst records on MRSA could change from month to month and added that trusts needed to volunteer for the help.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said he had repeatedly pressed the government to take urgent action to deal with the risk of infection.

"Time and again they talk about what they are going to do and it's never pursued with the necessary urgency.

"Talk is cheap but lives are at risk," he said.

"If these hits squads are to be effective then it is urgent they do their work."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb said: "This sounds incredibly lethargic and lacking in urgency and the fact that this is voluntary is unbelievable.

"We keep hearing from ministers about task forces and action plans but what is it that stops them from taking MRSA seriously?

"It seems to be yet another symptom of the fact that they are not tackling this problem with the urgency it deserves.

"The problem would be made even worse if the present financial crisis is leading to the loss of frontline staff in infection control."

Mike Hayward, nurse adviser for acute and emergency care at the Royal College of Nursing, said it was rumoured that infection control nursing posts had been frozen in some cash-strapped trusts.

"It would be a false economy to cut these posts at a time when MRSA and other health care-associated infections are a number one priority in the public mind and also a key government target," he said.

He added: "The RCN wants to see a strategic plan from the Department of Health on exactly how these hit squads are going to work and how they're being utilised."

Officials were not moving as quickly as they could be, he said.

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Tuesday, 07 March 2006 11:22
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The MRSA superbug could be eradicated in Scottish hospitals within five years if all patients were tested for the virus, doctors said yesterday.

MRSA is currently a major or contributory factor to 2,000 deaths in Scotland each year and costs the NHS £186 million. That figure rises to more than £1 billion a year across the UK.

The Scottish Infection Standards and Strategy (SISS) Group admitted to the Executive yesterday that the cost of implementing its policies could run into millions of pounds. However, the group said the policy would pay for itself in the long run.

Dr Ian Gould, a consultant microbiologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: "There is a huge waste of resource due to MRSA. Bed wastage from extended stays... costs hundreds of millions of pounds.

"Change will not be an insignificant cost, but it is short-term pain for long-term gain. For every ten pence spent on this, there will be a pound back in one to two years. The problem is that the bankrupt hospitals don't have that ten pence to spend."

Dr Gould blamed "30 to 40 years of under-investment" for the high levels of MRSA infections in Scotland compared with the rest of Europe.

He added that tackling infection transfers in many Scottish hospitals was made more complicated by inadequate isolation wards and under-staffing.

Dr Dugald Baird, who chairs the SISS, said: "It is going to be a case of finding human and physical resources.

"If not treated, MRSA will pose a continuous significant threat in medicine, and there is the worry that more dangerous strains will be out there."

A spokesman from the Executive said: "Scotland already has a rigorous £15 million campaign to tackle infection control." The group’s suggestions are being considered by an NHS taskforce initiated by the Scottish Executive.

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Thursday, 23 February 2006 11:59
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The number of deaths linked to the hospital superbug MRSA has increased by nearly a quarter, the Office of National Statistics has revealed.

Latest figures show that mentions of MRSA on death certificates increased by 22 per cent between 2003 and 2004.

It does not mean that MRSA was necessarily the cause of death, just that it contributed to it.

Despite the rise, Chief Nursing Officer Christine Beasley said: "It is important to put this in to context.

"These figures show that out of the 12m people that go in to hospital in a year about 360 of them probably die directly of MRSA, but it is unacceptable for anyone to die unnecessarily from infections.

"Many people who have MRSA are very, very sick people prone to infection and not all infections are avoidable, but we are ensuring that the NHS has good hand hygiene and clinical procedures to prevent the ones that are.

"We are now legislating to put a hygiene code and a tougher inspection regime into law, to drive up standards of hygiene and infection control, with ultimate sanctions for trusts who fail to deliver."

But Patients Association chairman Michael Summers said: "We are disappointed by these new figures.

"It is clear that MRSA and hospital infections are winning the war in many of our wards."

He added simple hygiene measures, such as washing hands, could have a huge impact and should be taken by everyone in hospitals.

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