Knowledge is Power

I wrote a post recently lamenting the lack of information available to the public on MRSA and suggested that a well-orchestrated campaign was needed to correct this deficit.  Well, now my wishes have come true with the launch of a new campaign group called  S.I.N. (Stop Infections Now). Would you like to consider becoming a SINNER?

Did you realise that members of the public get most of their knowledge about the measures needed to prevent MRSA from the media?  The information given to patients who have acquired MRSA in hospital can be insufficient or sometimes, even non-existent.  The result is that there are some thousands of patients being discharged from our acute hospitals every year with MRSA (in wounds, in bones or in their respiratory systems) and with very sketchy knowledge on how to prevent the spread of the infection to others.

Health Care Acquired Infections (HCAIs) such as MRSA and C. Diff, are a major problem in the Irish health system and many people have been affected.  These infections often result in prolonged stays in hospitals, sometimes with permanent disability or even death occurring.  The human and financial costs are enormous. Appeals to the Minister for Health, the HSE and hospital managements have proved ineffective in preventing HCAIs, so a campaign has been set up to approach the problem from a different angle i.e. people power.

The SIN Campaign has been established to do the following:

– provide information to the public (and to health care staff) about HCAIs, their causes and what is needed to prevent them.

– outline what can be done by a prospective patient before he/she goes into hospital to help prevent infection.

– what to do if an infection is acquired, the questions to ask, and the appropriate responses to demand.

– how to complain in a non-confrontational manner, and the options open if satisfaction is not achieved.  These options include legal action.

This information is contained in a Patient Information Kit which includes a leaflet, flyer and a CD.  Thus informed, it is hoped that people will simply refuse to accept a service which, while being excellent in some respects, is severely sub-standard as far as these infections are concerned. The SIN Campaign will also include research into the social and psychological effects of HCAIs from the point of view of patients and health care workers.

The campaign group is asking for help from individuals and from companies. This help can be in the form of:

– donations or sponsorship of any size to help with the information kits and the research,

– becoming a patron so your name can be used,

– helping with fund raising or introductions to others who can help.

S.I.N. is the brainchild of Dr.Teresa Graham (formerly of MRSA and Families Network) and the Campaign and Patient Information Kit will be officially launched next Wednesday, 10th September in Dublin.  I’ve already become a SINNER by registering my personal details with the campaign group and I’m very much looking forward to attending the public launch and meeting the people behind this worthy campaign.

If you’d like any further information on this campaign, you can contact:

Dr. Teresa Graham at 051 386651 or

5 Responses to Knowledge is Power

  1. Grannymar says:

    Great stuff Steph!

    People power is the way to go. Good luck with the launch tomorrow.

  2. Baino says:

    Will there be publicity to let people know about the campaign? I hope so. I was shocked when a young friend of mine who’s a porter in an Irish hospital and suffering a horrible chest infection was berated for not turning up to work! Another time he had a n impegigo staph infection in his ear and was still expected to work among those already with low resistance, madness, as if there aren’t enough bugs in the system! Hope it gets off the ground. There’s no education program here on anything of that nature.

  3. Steph says:

    Grannymar and Baino

    Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

    I attended the public launch of the SIN campaign this morning. I now have in my possession one the Patient Information Kits to study and it looks great – clear and concise with CD included. In time, this information will become available on Youtube and Facebook, as well on the website:

    The main message that came out of the meeting today was that the unacceptable level of HCAI’s in our hospitals will continue as long as Irish people put-up with it. People have to stand-up and show they care. SIN plans to ask every citizen in the country to donate €1 to the campaign (will be facility to do this online) but it has yet to receive registration as a charity (this is in progress).

    Public confidence in the health service is at an all-time low. Many people have a fear of going into hospital. It’s imperative to reverse this trend in order to save our health service.

  4. […] No placard was needed as I joined-up with the S.I.N. (Stop Infections Now) campaigners who had produced their own teeshirts and placards for the march […]

  5. […] issues and experiences from the perspective of an Irish patient. Steph is now an ambassador for SIN – Stop Infection […]

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