Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two out of three British public hospitals fail on hygiene and nearly half miss MRSA targets, claims new report

Almost two out of three hospital trusts are failing to tackle dirty wards and deadly infections, a study has revealed. Nearly half missed the target to cut MRSA superbug rates last year and too few are achieving good hygiene standards, according to a Healthcare Commission report.

The independent watchdog's annual 'health check' of the NHS shows improving levels of services but warns that there are still major areas for concern in tackling infections such as MRSA and C.diff. Six out of ten acute and specialist trusts are not meeting government standards on managing infections and cutting MRSA rates. Just 67 of 169 of these trusts complied with all three hygiene standards and met MRSA superbug targets. In total, 48 per cent of hospitals failed to reach a target to cut MRSA infections by at least 60 per cent over three years.

Failures are occurring on one or more of three basic standards on infection control in 114 trusts overall - a quarter of the NHS - up from 111 trusts in the previous year. Of the trusts that failed on basic hygiene, 42 are acute hospitals, 62 primary care, eight mental health and two are ambulance trusts.

For the first time, the watchdog is planning spot checks throughout the NHS, rather than just inspecting hospitals. Under a new system, trusts that cannot show that they are meeting standards on infection control face conditions on their registration when the Care Quality Commission takes over as regulator next April. Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker said NHS trusts also needed to pay attention to other infections. She said: 'We must not take our eye off the other infections such as norovirus, which are as significant for patients if they catch them in hospital.'

In the watchdog's rating of the 391 NHS trusts across England for 2007-08, 42 trusts were ranked excellent on both the quality of services and their use of resources compared with 19 in 2006-07 and two the previous year.

But Derek Butler, chairman of MRSA Action, said some hospitals were making virtually no headway in getting on top of healthcare infections. He said 'Why are we allowing any hospitals not to comply with the hygiene code, we should be sending inspectors in. 'We know 17 hospitals actually had more MRSA cases last year than in 2004, since when they are supposed to have halved their rates.'

Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said 'It's encouraging to see that overall standards are improving in many NHS Trusts, but there are still some disturbing gaps in performance.'

Steve Barnett, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation which represents over 95 per cent of NHS organisations, said 'While the Annual Health Check shows a trend of improvement in healthcare acquired infections, we support a zero tolerance approach and we know NHS organisations are fully committed to achieving this.'


Rain makes you fatter

There could be something in this but if so the Brits should be hugely fat. It rains all the time there. But they seem to be about average for weight, in fact

SUNSHINE not only makes you feel good, but now it has been revealed that it has powers of weight loss, as rain can cause people to gain weight. While it may be the only good news for the drought-ravaged farmers, a team from Aberdeen University found miserable weather made it harder for dieters to shed weight.

They found those who were overweight had lower levels of vitamin D - which is created when the body is exposed to sunlight. The amount of vitamin D in the blood influences the functioning of a hormone called leptin, which tells the brain when the stomach is full. The obese produced a tenth less vitamin D than those of average weight.

Heavy rain, particularly in rural areas, also raises the risk of catching the potentially fatal bug E-coli. The concern is that farmers' slurry contains E.coli O157 bacteria from cattle muck; heavy rain can wash the slurry into streams and form puddles; the bacteria can then be found in mud stuck to boots, or spread by pets.

The Daily Mail reports that people with old injuries maintain that their scars ache when the weather is threatening and the low atmospheric pressure can induce premature labor. Monica Seles, the tennis star who was stabbed in the back during a tennis tournament in Germany, told one interviewer that her scar would tingle when rain was coming.


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