News | January 08, 2008

Extra specialist staff for tackling hospital infections

January 9, 2008 – Every hospital in England’s national socialized medicine program will be able to recruit two infection control nurses, two isolation nurses and an antimicrobial pharmacist with millions in extra investment for infection control in the National Health Service.

New stringent requirements outlined today in the government’s strategy to tackle healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) also mean that NHS Foundation Trust applications will not be supported by the secretary of state unless trusts are consistently hitting local targets on both MRSA and C. difficile.

The “Clean, safe care” program draws together current HCAI initiatives and details new areas where the NHS should invest the extra funding of about $500 million per year by 2010/11 to support infection control and cleanliness in the NHS.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said this funding will allow local organizations to invest up to $83.2 million on additional specialist staff, who play a crucial role in cleanliness and infection prevention and control.

“We have gone from what has been described by the HPA as 'a seemingly unstoppable rise in MRSA bloodstream infections throughout the 1990s’ to a 10 percent fall in cases of MRSA, thanks to the hard work and dedication of NHS staff, but we know that there is still more to be done,” Johnson said. “Patients have my assurance that the government will not take its foot off the pedal and will continue to do all we can to tackle infection.”

From February 2008, a new nationwide campaign will be launched to remind the public and doctors that using antibiotics is not effective on many common ailments. The campaign will also highlight that inappropriate use of antibiotics can increase the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of infections and that prudent prescribing is therefore required.

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