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Thursday 24th May 2018

All patients screened for MRSA

19th September 2007

A health standard watchdog for Scotland has called for all patients to be screened for the MRSA superbug.

NHS Quality Improvement Scotland wants to see £2m spent on a one-year pilot to see how the screening could be implemented. The idea would be for swabs for MRSA to be taken as soon as a patient was admitted to hospital for treatment.

With the MRSA bug now resistant to a growing number of antibiotics, the move follows research which suggests that screening could prevent infection, saving lives and leading to shorter stays in hospital.

Scotland’s Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has expressed a commitment to introducing an MRSA screening programme.

MRSA is carried harmlessly on the skin by millions of people but becomes a problem if it enters the body through a wound.

A study by NHS QIS into MRSA screening found that routine testing of patients on admission to hospital could significantly reduce infection rates, isolating those found to be carrying the bacterium so that they can be treated.

NHS QIS Chairman, Sir Graham Teasdale said: “The source of MRSA is not hospitals, it is the human body. The main reservoir for infection is on our own skin. By identifying those people carrying MRSA and separating them, it is less likely that the bacterium will spread in the hospital and therefore we can reduce infection rates and save lives."

The total cost for Scotland would be £55m over five years but health chiefs says this will be saved by cutting the number of hospital infections.


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