Warning over superbug threat

MORE work is needed to protect patients in Suffolk from the MRSA super-bug, a leading doctor warned health bosses today.Dr Paul Watson, the director of commissioning for the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA), said that while progress had been made in limiting the spread of the bug in the region, some health services - including Ipswich Hospital - needed to do more.

IPSWICH Hospital is failing to meet its targets on protecting patients from MRSA - despite health bosses claiming the region's response to the deadly super-bug has been “outstanding”.

It has emerged that 44 cases of the super-bug were recorded at the hospital between April 2006 and January this year, far in excess of its target of limiting cases of the bug to 32 within the whole of this financial year, which ends in April.

The news came as bosses at the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) were today due to be told that more work is needed to protect patients in Suffolk from Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

Dr Paul Watson, the director of commissioning for the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA), said that while progress had been made in limiting the spread of the bug, the region still missed its MRSA targets during January.


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In a report to the board of the SHA, which was due to be considered at a meeting in Cambridge today, Dr Watson wrote: “In January, there were 47 recorded infections of MRSA bacteraemia against a month target of 32.

“Eleven trusts exceeded their in month target. The most significant concentrations were at Ipswich Hospital, East and North Hertfordshire, West Hertfordshire and QE Hospital Kings Lynn.”

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But he added that the number of positive MRSA samples in East of England hospitals fell by 21per cent - 118 cases - when the period between April last year and January this year was compared to the same period in 2005/06.

He described the fall in cases as “an outstanding achievement” but said “it is clear that much more must be done”.

Dr Watson's findings came in the week that a coroner ruled newborn baby Luke Day died from MRSA after contracting the infection while at Ipswich Hospital.

Luke, whose parents Glynis Day and Kevin Fenton are from Woodbridge, became the youngest victim of the killer bug when he died in February 2005 at just 36 hours old.

Last night Julie Fenton, Luke's grandmother, said: “It's very disappointing when you hear things like this because we never want anybody to have to go through what's happened to us.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “We recognise that we have a way to go to achieve this ambition but the hospital board have pledged to make sure we tackle this issue.”

She added the hospital needed help from the community, particularly through visitors to the hospital ensuring they wash their hands.

Have you contracted MRSA while in hospital? What do you think of health services in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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