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Branson issues infection call

23rd December 2008

Sir Richard Branson has accused politicians of "tinkering" with infection control in hospitals.

MRSA1

In his capacity as vice-president of the Patients Association, Sir Richard wants all hospital staff to be screened for MRSA and treated immediately if infected.

He says any disruption caused would be better than the pain, misery and deaths caused by avoidable infections.

MRSA rates are falling in this country but Sir Richard still wants to see more action taken.

"There have been some improvements, but the facts speak for themselves - and the facts are still horrific.

"It feels like they have tinkered with the problem rather than really got to the heart of the problem. The hospitals are there to cure people. They are not there to kill people," he said.

He also suggested that the NHS could learn from transport industries, such as airlines, on how to avoid mistakes.

The Patients’ Association will hold a conference in the New Year to examine what works most effectively in infection control.

MRSA Action UK agreed on the need for a tougher stance.

However, MRSA expert Professor Mark Enright said Sir Richard’s suggestion made sense but would be difficult to implement.

He said: "It could be successful, but it would be very costly because you would have to employ extra staff. There is no slack in the NHS."

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association warned that running an airline was not the same as running a health service and the Department of Health pointed to tough government actions in the fight against infections.

 

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