PAC report on reducing healthcare associated infections in hospitals in England

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a report on Reducing Healthcare Associated Infection in Hospitals in England.

According to the PAC, every year over 300,000 patients in England acquire a healthcare associated infection whilst in hospital. These infections cost the NHS more than £1 billion a year. They are caused by a variety of organisms and lead to a range of symptoms from minor discomfort to serious disability. For some they can be fatal, and in 2007, there were 9,000 deaths recorded with Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Clostridium difficile infections as the underlying cause of a contributory factor.

This is the PAC’s third report on healthcare associated infection, which they describe as a “key indicator of quality and safety of NHS care.” In 2000, the PAC concluded that the NHS did not have a grip on the extent and costs of hospital acquired infection and that without robust data it was difficult to see how they could target activity and resources to best effect. In 2005, the PAC found that the progress in improving infection prevention and control had been patchy and there was a distinct lack of urgency on key issues such as ward cleanliness and compliance with good hand hygiene

In it’s current report the PAC concludes that there have been significant reductions in MRSA bloodstream and Clostridium difficile infections. However, there have been no measurable reductions in other, avoidable, healthcare associated bloodstream infections.

The PAC’s report also concludes that one of the greatest threats to infection control is the increase in antibiotic resistance.

Read the PAC report Reducing Healthcare Associated Infection in Hospitals in England here.

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