No MRSA cases for two years

Cath Siddle
Cath Siddle

A HOSPITAL trust is celebrating almost two years without having any cases of a dangerous superbug.

It has been 640 days since The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust reported any cases of MRSA at its sites.

MRSA can cause life-threatening infections, such as blood poisoning and is resistant to a number of antibiotics.

Hospital patients are at greater risk because there is more chance of the bacteria getting into the body via surgical wounds. Patients who are old and weak are also more vulnerable to infection.

Cath Siddle, the trust’s director of nursing, patient safety and quality, said in a report: “The trust continues to report excellent performance in MRSA bacteraemia with zero trust attributed cases since December 2012.

“This is the result of a significant amount of work around intravenous line care and blood culture sampling processes, and means the trust is within the zero trajectory set by NHS England for all trusts.”

The news was welcomed by members of the hospital trust’s board of directors at their last meeting held at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

But there was some concern after the trust reported five cases of the C difficile bug in August.

Trust chief executive Alan Foster described this as “a blip” for which there was no known reason.

Before that, the trust had no cases in April, one in May, one in June and none in July.

The trust says it is within its target of having no more than 16 cases for the last five months.

Mr Foster said: “We have had blips in previous years.

“This was a cluster of cases on different wards, and we haven’t really got an answer to that.

“Thankfully, in the last few weeks we haven’t had any more cases, we have just got to keep doing the right things and vigilant.”

Good hand hygiene among hospital staff and visitors is one of the ways the trust tries to keep C difficile at bay.

Trust chairman Paul Garvin added: “I’m really pleased to see we have got it back under control again.

“I don’t think it was due to taking our foot off the gas.

“It just shows how easily it is for this infection to spring up.”

C difficile infection is another dangerous bacterial infection that usually affects people who have been treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms can include diarrhoea, fever and it can lead to life-threatening complications.