Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

23/11/06 INFECTION CONTROL – IS IT ONLY SKIN DEEP? SURVEY REVEAL

Rosie Cooper MP for West Lancashire attended the launch of The Patients Association’s latest report in to infection control. The event was attended by infection control specialists, MPs and Department of Health officials.

The survey, conducted by The Patients Association, asked 500 NHS staff, which included Directors of nursing and infection control nurses and microbiologists, to complete a series of questions relating to their Trusts’ infection control practices. The results from the 169 respondents reveal a picture of confusion and concern among health professionals that infection control practices in the NHS are endangering patients’ lives.

The key findings of the report include:

1. Nearly half (45%) said that NOT ALL RELEVANT STAFF WERE ADEQUATELY TRAINED in infection control practices
2. 47% said that there was NO DEDICATED “RING FENCED” BUDGET FOR INFECTION CONTROL teams in their trust.
3. Only 35% of those who responded said that the effectiveness of antiseptic used to kill bacteria on the skin was continually assessed. 7% OF RESPONDENTS NEVER ASSESSED BEST PRACTICE
4. 93% of respondents HAVE to SPEND CLINICAL TIME REASSURING PATIENTS worried about catching healthcare-associated infections

Following the launch, Claire Rayner, President of The Patients Association said: “While we acknowledge that the NHS has come a long way in recent years in protecting patients from healthcare-associated infections, it is clear from this report that there is still some way to go.

“The fact that so many respondents stated openly that training of staff was inadequate and that many clinicians simply do not assess the effectiveness of their practice often enough, gives us significant cause for concern,” she said.

Rosie Cooper MP for West Lancashire stated:

“I continue to be alarmed by the high levels of infection within our hospitals; it really is not acceptable in this day and age. This situation is exacerbated by the NHS deficit which has resulted in cuts to many infection control budgets, as they are not ring fenced, is a recipe for disaster.”

“The Department of Health has just published their latest infection control Code of Practice so there is no better time to assess just where the NHS is failing in its duty to deliver safe patient care and how we can put it right.”

Rosie further commented:

“This report is deeply worrying and shows the inconsistencies of infection control across the county. In my constituency, I am inundated by letters of concern regarding healthcare acquired infections (HCAIs) and unfortunately it is not surprising that the Patient Association’s report reveals that 93% of respondents have to spend clinical time reassuring patients worried about catching healthcare-associated infections.” 

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