MRSA review team revealed

DETERMINED to get to the bottom of baby Luke Day's death, Ipswich Hospital has today announced the names of the experts who are carrying out thorough investigations on its wards.

DETERMINED to get to the bottom of baby Luke Day's death, Ipswich Hospital today announced the names of the experts who are carrying out thorough investigations on its wards.

The seven-strong panel contains some of the country's leading experts in microbiology and infection control nursing.

The team, which includes representatives from the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority as well as other hospitals around the country, were called in after Ipswich Hospital's own investigations in to the death of baby Luke Day's in February, drew a blank.

The youngster was just 36 hours old when he died unexpectedly and the cause was found to be MRSA.

The review panel members are:

Sandra Betterton - head of nursing, Norfolk Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority, (NSC SHA)

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Peter Wilson - consultant microbiologist, London Medical School

Alan Pask - non executive director, NSC SHA

John Parry - associate medical director, The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

Pauline Lewin - director of facilities, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Maurice Mado - nurse consultant infection control, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Sandra Corry - review co-ordinator and clinical quality manager NSC SHA

Chris Dooley, the hospital's acting chief executive, said: “Our determination to understand and explain to all our communities and staff exactly what led to the sudden and unexpected death of baby Luke Day has included asking the SHA for their continuing help and support in setting up a wider review.

“Our resolve to continue to do everything we can remains undiminished.”

The panel will be chaired by Tony Schur, non-executive director and vice-chair of the hospital's board, and will look further at the information gathered by the hospital's own investigation which began immediately after Luke died at the end of February.

The team has already started work on the investigation and held their first meeting at the end of last week.

They will work on site, carrying out investigations, and off-site, analysing their findings, but the team will determine their own working pattern which may not necessarily be full time within the hospital.

It is believed the team is being seconded from their normal jobs to dedicate themselves to the investigation.

They will also look at the hospital's wider infection control policies and will be advised by the Health Protection Agency. The investigations are expected to continue until the end of this month.

A final report will be prepared in June and presented to the board of the hospital and to the Norfolk Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority.

For many years, Ipswich Hospital has been trying to do all they can to protect patients from hospital acquired infections and have a specialist infection team made up of nurses and doctors in place.

However this was not enough to prevent the tragic death of baby Luke Day earlier this year.

His case has reached the very top of the political world with letters being sent to the family from the leaders of all of the three major parties - all of them promising to do something about the rising tide of infections in hospitals.

Cases of MRSA at Ipswich hospital are rising year on year - no worse than national levels but still rising nevertheless.

In 2004, 1047 new cases of the bug were diagnosed compared to 944 in 2003.

In 2002, the coroner's office only dealt with one case where MRSA was recorded as a factor on a death certificate. In 2004 it had risen to five.

Following Luke's death the Evening Star asked 20 questions of the board, demanding to know exactly what happened and how they are going to prevent this in the future.

The hospital have promised that once the investigations in to Luke's death are complete they will answer all these questions.

n.The findings of the review will also be available on the hospital's website at www.ipswichhospital.org.uk

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