Patient gets MRSA in 'bug-free' month

IPSWICH Hospital was today accused of misleading the public after it claimed to be “MRSA-free” for the first time in seven years.A Suffolk MP issued a plea for a review of the way MRSA cases are recorded after it emerged the hospital's figures only took into account the more serious bloodstream infections.

IPSWICH Hospital was today accused of misleading the public after it claimed to be “MRSA-free” for the first time in seven years.

A Suffolk MP issued a plea for a review of the way MRSA cases are recorded after it emerged the hospital's figures only took into account the more serious bloodstream infections.

The call came after a patient who was in the Heath Road hospital in January - the lauded “MRSA free” month - was diagnosed with a localised MRSA infection.

Health chiefs had released a statement last week saying the hospital “won its battle against MRSA in January with no cases of the infection reported during the month”.

“It is the first time since recording began in 2001 that there has been a month without a single case,” they said.

But it has since emerged the figures only dealt with MRSA bacteraemias - the potentially fatal form of the disease found in the bloodstream.

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The hospital defended the statement, saying it was following Department of Health guidelines that require it to just report cases of MRSA bacteraemias and not the less serious localised infections.

But John Gummer, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “For your average person on the street there is not going to be a distinction.

“They will take it as read that there have been no cases of MRSA whatsoever - in the bloodstream or more localised it doesn't matter.

“I hope the hospital will be tougher in the way it uses its data and if there's any chance of a misunderstanding it should be cleared up before and not after.”

Chris Clements, who owns the village shop in Hollesley, went into Ipswich Hospital for four days on January 10 to have a kidney tumour removed.

When he was back at home the district nurse called to check his wound, which had been bandaged since he left, and discovered it contained a localised MRSA infection.

“The care I received at Ipswich Hospital was absolutely superb,” the 55-year-old said. “I'm not even worried about the fact I got MRSA because after ten days of antibiotics it's cleared up.

“However, I've seen it reported that the hospital had no cases of MRSA in January which isn't true because I've had it.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital defended the release, claiming they had made it clear the statement referred to bacteraemias and not localised infections.

“The bacteraemias is the blood stream infection and the most serious - that's why we're required to report it.

“What we are not saying - and do make clear - is that there is no MRSA bacteria, which can be found all around us.

“No case is a good case but this is less serious and we are not required to report it.”

Last year infection control chiefs introduced a raft of measures in a bid to cut cases of MRSA, including reduced visiting hours, a 20-ward deep cleaning programme, equipment upgrades and a new isolation ward.

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