Hospital's MRSA target

IPSWICH Hospital must ensure that no more than 21 people are diagnosed with MRSA on its wards in the year 2007/8, The Evening Star can reveal today.And while the figures for the most serious type of MRSA infection at the hospital remain relatively small, hospital bosses admit there is still a long way to go.

IPSWICH Hospital must ensure that no more than 21 people are diagnosed with MRSA on its wards in the year 2007/8, The Evening Star can reveal today.

And while the figures for the most serious type of MRSA infection at the hospital remain relatively small, hospital bosses admit there is still a long way to go.

In line with all other NHS hospitals, Ipswich is required to cut the number of cases reported between April 2004 and March 2005 by around half by 2007/8.

This will mean reducing the number of cases of bloodstream infections to no more than 21 in that year.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: "Since we started monitoring MRSA our bloodstream infection rates have remained fairly constant but we have to bear in mind that in that time there's been a large increase in the number of patients we've treated.

"The most recent figures available show that there were 23 people diagnosed in the first half of last year and if you look at the huge number of people we treat, around 400,000 each year, that is a very small percentage.

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"The last thing we would ever want to be, however, is complacent and we will continue to do everything we can to drive the numbers down."

Ipswich's most recent figures show it has the 29th highest number of cases out of the 110 acute hospitals in England. West Suffolk hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital both have higher rates.

In 2001/02 there were 50 cases of MRSA bloodstream infection diagnosed in the hospital, in 2002/03 there were 52 and in 2003/4 there were 52. In the first half of 2004/5 there were 23.

One of the most vital tools in the hospital's fight against MRSA will be increased swabbing of patients.

Currently all patients entering the trauma and orthopaedics department for a planned operation are swabbed before admission, but when people need emergency care this can often be more difficult.

Ms Rowsell said: "What we have to do is make sure that we really reduce the risk to vulnerable patients and we are increasing the number of emergency admissions that we are swabbing.

"This is something that has been part of our nursing strategy for a while and has been ongoing for sometime."

Do you think the hospital will be able to halve their MRSA rates? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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