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Sunday 25th March 2018

Measures to fight hospital bugs

9th January 2008

The government has outlined its new strategy to combat hospital superbugs such as MRSA and C difficile.

MRSA1New measures designed to fight the bugs include a drive to stop doctors prescribing antibiotics where it is unnecessary, more thorough cleaning and more nurses.

The Department of Health said that by 2011, £270m would be allocated annually to fight infection. Trusts can make use of these funds by introducing MRSA screening from 2009 and recruiting specialist nurses.

Hospitals which fail to meet targets can also be fined by regulators as part of the new strategy.

Recent figures released by the Health Protection Agency reveal that MRSA cases decreased by 10% in the latest three months. New cases of C difficile also fell by 7%.

The government had set a target to reduce cases of MRSA by 50% by March 2008. Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the government would reach this target.

He added there was "still more work to be done...[but] patients have my assurance that the government will not take its foot off the pedal."

Respected microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington, from Aberdeen University, said that although the strategy would help, more isolation wards were a key factor in reducing the spread of infection.

He added that the NHS did not have the resources to enforce this and as a result there was "still a long way to go."

"I think it will take another five years before we get our rates down to the best of the other European countries" he said.

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