It’s not rocket science

Everyone has heard of the hospital superbug MRSA and many have a view on how to stop it. MRSA is a serious problem in Ireland. A new report released this week has found that MRSA is costing Irish hospitals more than €23 million every year. Ireland ranks fourth in Europe for MRSA bloodstream infection rates with only Portugal, Greece and Italy ahead. Much of the media coverage on reducing the incidence of MRSA tends to concentrate on hospital cleaning and poor hygiene. This latest report addresses the whole story about MRSA.

The MRSA in Ireland: Addressing the Issues report, was conducted by a multidisciplinary advisory group including microbiologists, hospital pharmacists and patient advocates, and sponsored by healthcare firm Pfizer. The report found that the cost of dealing with healthcare associated infections (HCAI) totalled €233.75 million a year, with the MRSA cost representing 10 per cent of the overall figure. The main factor contributing to the cost is the increased length of stay by patients in hospital. Patients with MRSA spend, on average, 2.5 times longer in hospital.

Commenting on the report, Dr Edmond Smyth, Consultant microbiologist at Beaumont Hospital and chairman of the MRSA group, said that we need to “improve patient staff ratios; have laboratories on hospital sites that provide rapid diagnosis for MRSA and other infections; be able to isolate patients; ensure that doctors and nurses and healthcare workers generally wash their hands before and after any contact with a patient; ensure that we use antibiotics appropriately; discharge patients home earlier.”

“It’s the simple things,” Dr Smyth says. “There’s no rocket science here, we just need to do all these simple things at the same time.”

It may not be rocket science but at a time when the health service is facing over €1 billion in cutbacks and with the present economic downturn, I can’t really see all this happening, can you?

Cartoon by Chris Slane

Information source: TV3 News and The Irish Times.

3 Responses to It’s not rocket science

  1. Annb says:

    It might as well be rocket science. Since the general management of the quango that is the HSE, come from outer-space, I vote we employ a team of rocket scientists to deal with them!

  2. magnumlady says:

    I agree with Annb.
    Some staff are terrible when it comes to hygiene as well. I’ve seen them so many times going from one patient to the other, examining them….and no hand washing or gel inbetween.

  3. Steph says:

    Annb – And while you’re at it, could you please put a rocket under the present government as well? Some fresh thinking is sorely needed to get this country out of the mess it’s in!

    magnumlady – The ‘Wash Your Hands’ campaign has improved awareness of hand hygiene but I think infection control has gone so overboard with posters etc. that the message gets lost.

    Most of the other measures recommended in the latest MRSA report, require huge resources for implementation and frankly, it’s not going to happen any time soon 😦

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