The reason the MRSA superbug is so prevalent is because hospitals in England are so overcrowded, says a new study published in the British Journal of Nursing. The study found that more than three-quarters of hospitals in the country has in excess of the permissible 82 percent bed occupancy rates with a third of the trusts exceeding 81 percent.
Researchers from the University of Ulster said that the high rates mean that there is very less time to disinfect the bed before the next patient occupies it. Previously the researchers had studied the relationship between rates of MRSA infection and bed occupancy in Northern Ireland. They found the same relationship existed in England.
The authors including nursing lecturer Brian Cunningham, Professor of Health Research, George Kernohan, and researcher Thomas Rush; say that the situation is the same in 35 specialist hospitals in England. The researchers also estimate that the turnover rate for a single bed could be as little as 72 minutes.
"The Healthcare Commission's annual staff survey based on replies from 209,000 employees in 570 NHS trusts in England reported that one-in-four said trusts did not do enough to promote the importance of hand-cleaning to staff, patients and visitors and nearly 40 per cent of NHS staff do not have constant access to the hot water, soap, paper towels and alcohol rubs needed to prevent the spread of hospital infection," Cunningham said.
"The rise in the incidence of MRSA rates may be a symptom of a systems failure in the central and local management of the NHS."