Monday, 9 November 2009

Government targets increase superbug risks, say NHS infection chiefs

While rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile are falling, after scandals over major outbreaks, other potentially fatal infections which receive less attention appear to be soaring, the Commons public accounts committee will say.

Around 300,000 infections are diagnosed in English hospitals every year – but many more potentially fatal bugs may be going undetected, because of a lack of surveillance, research has found.

A voluntary scheme charting all bloodstream infections found numbers increased by 30 per cent between 2003 and 2007, in what the committee's chairman Edward Leigh described as a "rising tide" of infections threatening all hospital patients.

The report is expected to show increasing numbers of cases of E-coli, linked to surgical site infections and urinary tract problems, and in cases of the bacterial infection Klebsiella.

The Sunday Telegraph has established that the NHS' most senior doctors and scientists responsible for infection control believe their efforts are being hindered by Government waiting targets.

An anonymous survey of 170 NHS directors of infection control found that 59 per cent had experienced a clash between their efforts to block the spread of disease and rules which say new patients must be found a bed within four hours.

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