Hampshire hospitals winning the war on superbugs

The number of MRSA and C.diff infections continue to fall at Royal Hampshire County Hospital, pictured

The number of MRSA and C.diff infections continue to fall at Royal Hampshire County Hospital, pictured

First published in News

THREE Hampshire hospitals are winning the battle against potentially fatal superbugs, the latest figures show.

Rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C.diff) infections continue to fall at Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Andover War Memorial Hospital and Basingstoke hospital.

Between April 2012 and March 2013, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recorded 40 cases of C.diff, down on 55 the previous year. Its target is to halve that figure next year.

There has been a dramatic fall in hospital-acquired infections over the last five years. In 2007, at the RHCH alone, there were 158 patients with C.diff, an infection of the gut which can lead to severe diarrhoea and bowel inflammation.

Figures also show the trust recorded one case of MRSA in 2013 compared to 18 in 2003-4.

Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant microbiologist, said a simple way to stop the spread of superbugs was better hygiene. A high-profile “Clean Your Hands Campaign” encouraged doctors and nurses to wash their hands between patients.

Speaking at a health focus event at the RHCH, Dr Dryden said bugs could also be spread by doctors’ stethoscopes and pens which should be wiped down with alcohol rubs.

Dr Dryden said: “If a doctor plants a stethoscope on the chest of a patient who happens to have MRSA and then on another, it may transfer the superbug.”

Overcrowding on hospital wards could also lead to the spread of superbugs. Dr Dryden said he would like every patient to have their own room and en-suite facilities to reduce the risk of infection.

But he said some senior hospital managers believed patients prefer to stay on wards so they can chat to others.

Dr Dryden said the trust had become better at deep cleaning wards to control the spread of superbugs.

He warned E.coli was “the next big problem... the next MRSA coming from abroad and in food... increasingly resistant to common antibiotics.”

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