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Thursday 24th May 2018

Crackdown on NHS infections

4th June 2007

A national health watchdog body is planning a massive clampdown on infections in hospitals with a blitz on hygiene standards.


The Healthcare Commission is planning a series of unannounced spot checks on 120 NHS trusts over the coming year.

The visits will check on cleanliness and also examine infection control procedures in individual trusts and hospitals.

Critics say the unannounced visits are long overdue but come with new powers bestowed on the Healthcare Commission under the Health Act 2006, which orders health trusts to improve their standards.

The government is hoping to cut hospital infections such as MRSA by half for the period 2004-2008. But while cases of MRSA are falling another so-called superbug Clostridium difficile is becoming more common. In 2006 there were 55,681 cases of Clostridium difficile among the over-65s, a rise of 8% on 2005.

The Healthcare Commission visits will focus on hospitals but they will also include some mental health establishments.

Checks will look at whether the right management structures and infection control teams are in place, whether patients with infections are isolated properly and if hand-washing is common practice in accordance with the government’s hygiene code.

Health Minister Lord Hunt said: “These rigorous checks will ensure that trusts adhere to the code and will help give patients the assurance that everything possible is being done to keep infections to a minimum.?

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley accused the government of taking 10 years to introduce unannounced checks, adding that during that period deaths from MRSA had quadrupled.


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