Hospital vows to act over infection control criticism

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

HOSPITAL chiefs say they are doing all they can to curb the rates of infection following criticism form medical standards body NICE

This year, Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) missed its NICE target for the clostridium difficile virus and the trust also saw wards closed on several occasions due to out breaks of the vomiting and diarrhoea bug -Norovirus.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has this week issued ‘quality standards’ on measures including hand-washing and catheter insertion.

Rates of MRSA and clostridium difficile - the most well-known hospital-acquired infections - have fallen significantly in recent years, but one in 16 people treated in the NHS picks up an infection.

About 300,000 patients develop an infection in England each year while being treated by the NHS.

Prof Gillian Leng, who is deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “It is unacceptable that infection rates are still so high within the NHS.

“Infections are a costly and avoidable burden. They hinder a patient’s recovery, can make underlying conditions worse, and reduce quality of life.”

The NICE standards say people should be prescribed antibiotics in accordance with guidelines and healthcare workers should follow procedures - including hand-washing - to cut the risk of infection when devices such as catheters are inserted.

Prof Leng added: “Although there have been major improvements within the NHS in infection control, particularly in relation to Clostridium difficile and MRSA bloodstream infections in the last few years, healthcare-associated infections are still a very real threat to patients, their families and carers and staff.”

However, WWL chiefs say they are working hard to improve standards in this area.

Lynda Barkess-Jones, associate director of infection control for WWL said: “We make infection control a priority and have policies and procedures in place to detect, manage and report infections and we are committed to take every possible measure to reduce infection rates at each of our hospitals.

“In recent years, WWL has invested in infection control and we have made year-on-year reductions. Cases of C Diff have fallen with a 50 per cent drop since 2010/11.”