With the increasing threat of hospital-acquired infections from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), it has been planned to send specialized squad teams to major hospital trusts in an attempt to restrict spread of the deadly infection.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the three health care trusts that has expressed interest in participation of a Government scheme that would provide tips to combat the Superbug. Nearly 66 cases of MRSA infections have been documented by the trust between 2004 and 2005.
The risk of MRSA infection is greater due to the vast area covered by the trust (encloses rural Northumberland, from the river Tyne to Scotland border). The seven cottage hospitals and three district hospitals that cater to the health care needs of nearly 500, 000 people is yet another predisposing factor.
A majority of those who avail the trust services are elderly or deprived, a group more susceptible to MRSA infection. In addition, the infection could also be transmitted from patients referred from other specialized health care centers.
The increased in frequency of admission of old people from nursing homes and readmissions are believed to contribute to spread of MRSA infection. More than 30% of the local population may be infected with MRSA, according to official estimates. The health officials are actively involved in restricting the further spread of infection.
'We are already doing everything that we can - we have a good infection control team, we have all the training and all the alcohol cleaning gels. Our staff even carry a tube of gel on their belts so they can clean their hands even if they have to rush to an emergency. But if there is anything any one else can tell us - we are happy to learn,' said one of the senior health officials.
The initiative of the health care trust would soon be rewarded by a three-month anti-MRSA assessment, scheduled to take place in spring. The trust is already 2/3rd down the ranking for worst MRSA control rate. With implementation of the anti-MRSA measures, the situation is only likely to improve in the forthcoming months.