28/01/2016 - Permalink

Tackling infections in Shropshire’s acute hospitals

Related topics: Health / Partner organisations

News from our partners

Shropshire’s two acute hospitals have not seen a case of MRSA bacteraemia and the most serious hospital-acquired pressure ulcers for more than eight months, figures show this week.

The last recorded case of MRSA bacteraemia – a bloodstream infection known as a superbug because it is resistant to a number of widely used antibiotics – at the Trust was 282 days ago and the last avoidable Grade 3 or Grade 4 pressure ulcer was 257 days ago.

Whilst this is good news for patients, there is still work to be done to reduce all hospital infections.

For example, today  (Thursday 28 January 2016) the Board of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital (SaTH) NHS Trust will hear that the Trust has exceeded its target for the number of cases of Clostridium difficile (C.diff) in 2015/16.

The Trust was given a target of having no more than 25 cases between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

The Trust Board will hear performance for December which showed that there had been 25 cases during the financial year. Since then, there have been a further two cases meaning there have been a total of 27 cases of C.diff during 2015/16.

Sarah Bloomfield, Director of Nursing and Quality at SaTH, said whilst it was disappointing to have exceeded the target, a lot of positive work was under way to reduce infections at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford. She said:

“We take our performance to reduce infections very seriously and aim to provide a safe and infection free experience for our patients.

“Our C.diff target for 2015/16 was calculated on our performance of 26 cases between December 2013 and November 2014; which is below the national average. Those Trusts below the national average were asked to improve by having one less case in the next year.

The number of cases in the Trust has been falling and none were reported in November. However, two further cases were reported in December and, despite improvements, two further cases were reported in January. This means 27 cases have now been reported exceeding the expected target set by NHS England of no more than 25 cases for the year. A number of these cases were unfortunately a consequence of a patient’s underlying condition or the provision of correct medical treatment.

“We’re working hard to reduce the number of cases. We’re continuing to monitor compliance with guidelines in antibiotic prescribing, raising awareness of the need for rapid isolation of patients with symptoms in statutory training and compliance with hand hygiene and environmental cleanliness and have found that most cases caused by antibiotic usage are in line with the antibiotic policy.

“Likewise, we’re part of a local health economy approach to reduce incidences of C.diff, that includes colleagues from the Clinical Commissioning Groups, GPs and lead pharmacists in all health sectors. A key focus of the group is to optimise the prescribing of antibiotics appropriately and maximising robust practices including identification, isolation and reducing contamination.”

Sarah said the Trust had been performing well in other areas.

“I’m particularly pleased that our efforts to eliminate cases of MRSA bacteraemia and avoidable Grade 3 and 4 pressure have been working and we’ve gone more than eight months without any cases of these,”  she added.

“We’re not complacent though and will continue to do our best to ensure we don’t see any such cases. I’m also pleased with the outcome of a multi-agency peer review which we took part in and which was led by the Trust Development Authority (TDA) during 2015 to look at practice across the organisation in relation to Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).

“Feedback was positive with the peer review team finding that staff were clearly passionate about working within the Trust and that all the conversations held with patients were positive; describing care as excellent.”

Areas of good IPC practice included:

  • All staff were Bare Below the Elbows (BBE)
  • All staff were aware of their roles and responsibilities towards IPC
  • Correct documentation was found of indwelling devices such as cannulas.

Sarah also reminded visiting patients to ensure their hands were cleaned before entering or leaving a ward or clinical area, by either using soap and water or the hand gels provided.

“By preventing germs from circulating we can all play our part in helping to reduce infections such as MRSA bacteraemia and clostridium difficile, as well as the spread of flu, stomach bugs and other winter illnesses,” she said.

“By washing your hands with soap and water and making sure they’re dried properly you can significantly reduce the number of germs circulating and reduce your chances of getting ill.

“We would ask anyone who has flu-like symptoms not to visit hospital, as well as anyone who has had symptoms of Norovirus, or other ‘winter vomiting’ bugs, within the last 48 hours.”


Notes for Editors:

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is the main provider of acute hospital care for almost 500,000 people from Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales. Patients come to us from Telford, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Whitchurch, Newtown and Welshpool in Powys. The Trust continues to work with its partners in health and social care in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales to develop patient-focused services that meet the needs of our communities.

For more information contact John Kirk, Communications and Engagement Manager at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, on 01743 492285.