Mrsa | Mrsa Infection

The number of MRSA cases has dropped by a third compared with the same period last year, official figures from the Health Protection Agency have shown. There were 725 reported cases of the superbug from July to September 2008, down 13% on the previous quarter. The figures are down by 33% on the previous year’s number of 1,082.

This can only be a good thing, and government officials have been quick to congratulate the health authorities in their efforts to combat the disease. The Healthcare Commission said that the figures show that the NHS is ‘coming to grips with MRSA infection’, but all commentators have said that the drive to eradicate the disease in UK hospitals must not lose momentum.

MRSA is a mutation of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (SA), which is a common type of bacteria living harmlessly in the nose or on the skin of around a quarter of the population. Most people do not even realize that they are carrying the germ. For normally healthy people the bacteria does not pose a risk, but for those with weakened immune systems, such as those recovering from surgery or illness, the bacteria can be deadly. The mutated version that makes up MRSA is resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat similar infections, and is easily transmitted by direct contact. When MRSA first came to notice, it was quickly discovered that something as simple as an antibacterial hand gel could help to reduce the instances of the disease being spread by contact. Health authorities have universally introduced the use of handpumps at all strategic points in a hospital in an effort to reduce the bacteria being spread.

However, hand gel isn’t the magic bullet that has caused the drop in cases over the past few months. This was just one implementation that was brought in by health authorities to try and combat the disease. MRSA thrives in dirty conditions and the hospitals had to clean up their act very quickly, introducing more frequent ‘deep cleaning’ of wards and a more rigorous hygiene regime. Medical negligence claims highlighted the poor standards of cleanliness in some hospitals as directly responsible for cases of the disease, and the trusts not only had the spotlight of publicity shined on them but were also financially impacted by the claims as well. This tipped the balance in favour of prevention rather than cure and the NHS has worked hard at raising the standard across the board.

The figures show that the NHS and health authorities have done an excellent job in redressing the problems that led to MRSA’s rise to notoriety, but now the emphasis has shifted to maintaining that momentum and pushing the disease further into remission. There is still plenty of room for improvement and the spotlight is kept focused on the disease by patients who sue the NHS over cases of the disease. These cases emphasize that the duty of care to patients is still paramount, and that includes providing patients with a clean environment that is not conducive to the growth of superbugs. NHS trusts are taking infection prevention and control very seriously and this has played a key role in the decline in MRSA cases. If the NHS continues to maintain its current standards and to improve upon them, there will be fewer medical negligence claims for MRSA infection and, more importantly, fewer victims.

We deal in a range of claims, including medical negligence and compensation.

About the Author:

By: Nick Jervis1 is run by a non-practising Personal Injury Solicitor with over 14 years personal injury claims experience.

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