Calls for Labour MSP to apologise after out of date data used in attack on NHS infection levels

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By G.A.Ponsonby
 
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie is facing calls to apologise to NHS workers after claiming that new figures show Scottish hospitals at the top of a European league table of healthcare associated infections.
 
The calls for an apology come after it emerged that the figures used by the Labour Health spokesperson were in fact gathered in 2005/6, a time when Labour were in power.

By G.A.Ponsonby
 
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie is facing calls to apologise to NHS workers after claiming that new figures show Scottish hospitals at the top of a European league table of healthcare associated infections.
 
The calls for an apology come after it emerged that the figures used by the Labour Health spokesperson were in fact gathered in 2005/6, a time when Labour were in power.

In a press release issued by Ms Baillie she claims that new figures published by Labour show Scotland has topped a European league table of healthcare associated infections (HAIs).  In fact, the findings are based on a survey published in 2007 – with data gathered in 2005/06.

The SNP have seized on the blunder and demanded that Ms Baillie issue an immediate apology to Scottish NHS workers.

Commenting, Fiona McLeod MSP, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, said:

“This is an embarrassing boomerang attack by Jackie Baillie who has only succeeded in showing how bad things were under the last Labour-led Scottish Executive.

“Labour’s ‘new figures’ are in fact the findings of an old survey undertaken in 2005/06, when Labour were last in power.

“These figures are totally out of date and tell us nothing about the improvements and investment that have been made by the Scottish Government over recent years which have seen, for example, reductions of over 70% in both C.diff and MRSA.”

In October official figures showed that cases of MRSA and MSSA were at their lowest level since records began.  Cases of MRSA had fallen by over 75.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2007 and was now at the lowest level since surveillance began in 2005.

The figures also showed that the number of MSSA were also the lowest level since surveillance began in 2005.  Clostridium difficile infections were at the second lowest number of cases since surveillance began in 2006 – the previous quarter being the lowest.

Ms McLeod added:

“An up-to-date follow up to the 2005 study is due for publication in the coming months which will give a more accurate picture of the current situation.

“Labour owe healthcare workers an apology for their desperate and out of date politicking on an issue which is far too important to be treated as a political football.”

MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a common skin bacterium that is resistant to a range of antibiotics.  MSSA (meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) infections can be more easily treated by antibiotics.