MRSA outbreak at Ipswich Hospital prompts investigation

An outbreak of MRSA at Ipswich Hospital has prompted an investigation. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

An outbreak of MRSA at Ipswich Hospital has prompted an investigation. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

An investigation has been launched by health officials after an outbreak of MRSA hit a hospital ward in Ipswich.

The potentially deadly 'superbug' meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA) was first detected at Shotley ward, a specialist stroke unit at Ipswich Hospital in the spring of 2019.

In a report by the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust's (ESNEFT), it was revealed that the outbreak had been tackled by hospital staff, ending on July 8 after a safety plan to prevent the spread of the bacteria to other parts of the hospital was carried out.

Before the outbreak could be declared over, three weeks on negative tests at the ward needed to be taken.

At least five people were effected by MRSA during the outbreak but it is not know exactly how many fell ill.

Jan Ingle, communications manager for East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, said: "There was an outbreak of MRSA in the Shotley ward at Ipswich Hospital.

"The outbreak was quickly discovered and the robust protocol which the hospital adheres to, which included a deep clean of the ward, will have taken place to prevent it spreading.

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"The cases of MRSA were contained to the ward after a thorough investigation."

The NHS trust is now carrying out serious incident investigation to find out how the outbreak happened.

According to NHS guidance, MRSA is a type of bacteria that is resistant to several widely used antibiotics meaning infections can be harder to treat.

Infections can be serious, mainly affect inpatients at hospital, but can usually be treated with specialist antibiotics.

Before a patient is admitted to hospital overnight, an MRSA test is carried out to confirm if the bacteria is present and preventative action can be taken if it is identified.

Andy Yacob, CEO of Healthwatch Suffolk said: "We were not aware that this MRSA outbreak had occurred.

"However, we hope that Ipswich Hospital ensured that good communication took place by informing all patients and families concerned with the ward."

The report also highlighted that staff had been made aware of the Streptococcus A outbreaks in Mid Essex.

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