Superbug outbreak fears in NHS cuts

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary
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ONE of the county’s top health bosses has warned that NHS cuts could place patients at risk of a superbug outbreak this winter.

But chiefs at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust insist that the policies and procedures in place across its hospitals ensure that its patients are at no greater risk.

Dr Mike Burrows, Chief Executive of NHS Greater Manchester, which is a collective of the 10 PCTs, claims there is a “reduced capacity” for PCTs to deliver essential health protection and infection control this winter.

According to Dr Burrows, local health services do not have adequate resources to look into outbreaks or carry out essential monitoring and surveillance of superbugs such as C Diff, MRSA, and E Coli.

He said: “Greater Manchester Directors of Public Health have been reviewing the PCT health protection/infection control function. Increasing risks have been highlighted; the workforce was small when first reviewed a few months ago but has reduced even more.”

A WWL spokesman said that whilst it is actively looking for cost saving efficiencies, it is committed to ensuring that policies, procedures and services do not place patients at any higher risk of acquiring a hospital infection. It has now been more than 200 days since the last MRSA Bacteraemia outbreak.

Dr Burrows recommened recommended that PCTs should create a shared service to ensure that there is resilience across the region. It will be presented to the NHS Greater Manchester Board later today.

Gill Harris, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at WWL, said: “Infection Prevention and Control is at the very heart of all Executives at WWL NHS Foundation Trust, and is embedded within the Trust’s Patient Safety programme.

“The Trust has a very pro-active Infection Prevention and Control surveillance programme and our Infection Control Team.”

The trust says it is committed to ensuring that the Infection Control Surveillance Function is maintained, in order to identify potential outbreaks.